ATLANTA - The
reclamation project has crystallized one thing for the Phillies: They really could use another starter in their rotation.
They hope to find one before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, which is exactly four weeks away. Help could come in the form of a refurbished Myers, who pitched last night for triple-A Lehigh Valley, or from outside the organization.
The Phillies have Cleveland Indians lefthander C.C. Sabathia atop their wish list and have scouted him in recent weeks. But they also have an eye on Seattle Mariners lefthander Erik Bedard, who is 5-4 with a 3.79 ERA in 14 starts and seems to be available.
Charley Kerfeld, special assistant to general manager Pat Gillick, scouted Bedard in Seattle recently. And the Mariners had a couple of scouts in Reading last night to watch righthander Carlos Carrasco, who is considered the Phillies' top prospect.
They did not get to see Carrasco, however, because he was scratched after he felt shoulder stiffness in the bullpen before the game. But those Mariners scouts could be in Philadelphia this weekend, taking a look at some of the big-league talent the Phillies might have available.
The Phils have not announced who will take Myers' spot in the rotation this weekend against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park, but it seems to be between triple-A lefthanders J.A. Happ and Brian Mazone. Of course, they could have righthander Chad Durbin start, but they sound less inclined to disrupt the chemistry they have in the bullpen.
Mazone is scheduled to pitch tonight, and Happ is scheduled to pitch tomorrow night for the IronPigs.
The Phillies surprised lefthanded reliever
on Tuesday when they told him that they had bought his contract and that he would join them in Atlanta for the next few days.
"I wasn't expecting it," he said.
The Phils had an open roster spot with Myers optioned to Lehigh Valley. And with righthander Clay Condrey not expected to rejoin the team until today after the birth of his son in Texas on Monday, the Phillies are shorthanded in the bullpen. It might be a short stay for Swindle, who could be optioned to Lehigh Valley if the Phillies call up Happ or Mazone to start against the Mets.
But at least Swindle is happy to know he's on the Phillies' radar. He is a combined 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA with 48 strikeouts and just six walks between double-A Reading and Lehigh Valley. He has held opponents to a .197 average, which is impressive for someone whose fastball hits 82 m.p.h. and curveball hits 55 m.p.h.
"It's tougher when you don't throw as hard," Swindle said of getting noticed. "It's been a journey. Two other organizations didn't think I could pitch above A ball. The Phillies have been great to me, and now I'd like to prove them right."
The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have released Swindle, who has pitched in independent leagues in each of the previous three years.
"He persevered," pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "To go from independent ball to the big leagues? That's impressive."
"There aren't many guys in the big leagues like him," assistant general manager Mike Arbuckle said. "We think he has a chance to be effective going once through a lineup or getting a few hitters out in a situation. It's not like this is the first year he's pitched well. He did a good job for us last year, too."
The Phillies are 5-0 in Atlanta this year. In the season series, the Phils are 7-1. . . . Reading's Carrasco, catcher
, and outfielders
have been selected to play for the Southern Division in the Eastern League All-Star Game July 16 in Manchester, N.H. . . . Mazone and two IronPigs teammates, catcher
, have been selected to play for the International League stars in the triple-A All-Star Game July 16 in Louisville, Ky.