It appears as if the Phillies are about to add a righthanded reliever to their bullpen by temporarily subtracting a righthanded starter from their rotation.

With off days as bookends around their two-game series with the Mets, manager Ryne Sandberg indicated that the team planned to skip Roberto Hernandez's scheduled turn Friday against the Washington Nationals, which will allow them to place the veteran righthander in the bullpen at least for the two games against New York and possibly even for the Friday and Saturday games against the Washington Nationals.

"I don't have the final word, but that's a strong possibility with the off days that he'll be out in the bullpen," Sandberg said. "He's done that before. It's not a mystery for him to throw out of the bullpen. He knows the routine."

Skipping Hernandez (1-1 with a 5.81 ERA) will also allow the Phillies to pitch their top three starters against the division rival Nationals this weekend in what could be a clash of some stellar pitching matchups. Cliff Lee will pitch Friday, A.J. Burnett Saturday and Cole Hamels Sunday. The Nationals also have scheduled off days Monday and Thursday and their likely weekend starters appear to be Stephen Strasburg Friday, Tanner Roark Saturday and Gio Gonzalez Sunday.

The potential glitch in those glamour matchups is Wednesday's weather. Sandberg indicated that the Phillies were going to try hard to get Tuesday's game against the Mets in because Wednesday's forecast is calling for heavy rain most of the day.

In that case, the Phillies will have to decide if they want to skip Kyle Kendrick's turn in the rotation so they can have their top three starters pitch against the Nationals.

The lineup

With the Phillies facing the lefthanded Jonathon Niese Tuesday, Sandberg went with the righthanded hitting Jayson Nix at third base over Cody Asche and the switch-hitting Freddy Galvis. The manager also moved the righthanded hitting Marlon Byrd into the cleanup spot ahead of Ryan Howard.

The full lineup: Ben Revere, CF, Jimmy Rollins, SS, Chase Utley, 2B, Byrd, RF, Howard, 1B, Carlos Ruiz, C, Domonic Brown, LF, Nix, 3B, Cole Hamels, P.

The Phillies are 4-2 against lefthanded starters this season.