CLEARWATER, Fla. - Still looking for a dependable arm for the bullpen, Phillies officials pored over the waiver wire yesterday, looking for anyone who might help.

People who had gotten a glimpse at the waiver list - teams had to release players by 2 p.m. yesterday to avoid paying a full year's salary - said the collection of available talent was not impressive.

So it's possible the Phils could open the season Monday with the 11 healthy pitchers that they still have in camp. If the Phils were to pick up a pitcher off waivers or in a trade, righthander J.D. Durbin probably would be let go.

Yesterday, Durbin did not sound optimistic about his chances of making the team.

"It doesn't look too good," he said.

Either way, it appears as if the Phils have decided to open with 11 pitchers. That's probably good news, at least temporarily, for infielder Wes Helms, who could win the final bench spot over outfielder Chris Snelling.

Helms, however, might not last long. He probably would be the odd man out when closer Brad Lidge comes off the disabled list. Lidge is eligible to join the active roster April 5. Once Lidge is ready, the Phils probably will go with 12 pitchers.

An attempt to trade Helms to San Francisco for lefty reliever Steve Kline apparently fell through.

He's ready

Opening-day starter

Brett Myers

pitched two-hit ball over five shutout innings against the New York Yankees in his final spring tune-up yesterday. The Phils won the game, 4-0.

Myers went 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA in the Grapefruit League.

"I felt pretty good today," he said. "A couple more side sessions, I should be right there where I want to be."

Though happy with his overall performance, Myers was angry about walking Jorge Posada in the fourth inning. The pitcher shouted a naughty word on the mound and much of the crowd reacted with an "Ooooh."

"I hate two-out walks," Myers said.

Going against the prevailing opinion, Myers believes the Phils have the best starting rotation in the National League.

"That's what I think," he said. "Of course, that's my opinion, and nobody's going to care about my opinion."



Mike Zagurski

, who injured his elbow in a minor-league game, said he would have Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery next week. . . . The Phils close out the Florida portion of spring training against the Tigers today in Lakeland.

Adam Eaton

will be the starting pitcher. . . .

Juan F. Ramos

, a former city councilman, will join the Phillies' Spanish Baseball Network as a commentator. Phillies games can be heard in Spanish on WUBA-AM (1480) and online at



- Jim Salisbury