CHARLIE MANUEL came up the tunnel after his postgame press conference, ducked into his office and shut the door behind him. He knew that there were people waiting for him inside.
Earlier in the day, down in Richmond, Lehigh Valley IronPigs lefthander J.A. Happ was lifted from the game by manager Dave Huppert after just 2 2/3 innings and 41 pitches against the Triple A Braves. He hadn't allowed a run, giving up two hits and a walk while striking out three. There were reports that he received high-fives from his teammates when he came back to the dugout.
When a minor league pitcher comes out of a game early for no apparent reason after pitching well, especially when he gets a round of congratulations as he departs, it usually means that he's about to be promoted to the big leagues.
And when a manager, the coaching staff and the general manager huddle behind closed doors, it's often a signal that something is going on.
Still, the Phillies made no announcement of an impending roster move after yesterday's rain-delayed, 12-10 win over the Braves at Citizens Bank Park.
The team is off today. After tonight's annual Phillies Phestival to benefit ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) research, they will take a train to Washington where they open a three-game series against the last-place Nationals tomorrow night.
"I'm physically fine," Happ coyly told a reporter who reached him by phone last night. "They haven't made a move yet, so I don't feel it's appropriate to comment. I'm still waiting for the phone call."
And while there are reasons to believe that Happ, who made two impressive big-league starts earlier this month before being optioned back to the minors, will be on the roster by then, there are also several unanswered questions:
* Would he start? If so, whose spot would he take in the rotation?
* Would he become the second lefthander in the bullpen, even though he's been a starter his entire professional career? His only two relief appearances came at Class A Lakewood in 2005 and one with the IronPigs earlier this year.
If he's going to the bullpen, why wouldn't the Phillies wait until at least after Thursday's 4 p.m. trade deadline to see if they have any chance of picking up an experienced reliever?
What would the roster move be? It wouldn't be shocking to see Rudy Seanez (who has a 6.14 ERA in his last eight games) or Adam Eaton (who gave up three runs in two innings yesterday to raise his ERA for the season to 5.80) be placed on the disabled list . . . but both pitched yesterday after Happ was taken out of the game in Richmond.
According to yesterday's editions of the
New York Post
, the Red Sox are actively seeking to trade leftfielder Manny Ramirez because they are fed up with his antics. The paper went on to quote sources as saying the Phillies "have the best chance" to land him because of his relationship with Charlie Manuel, dating to when both were with the Cleveland Indians.
The only problem is, there is no indication the Phillies are interested.
Potential roadblocks: Ramirez has a full no-trade clause and, to waive it, likely would want to have both his options - for $20 million in 2009 and $20 million in 2010 - picked up. With Pat Burrell in leftfield, Ramirez would probably have to play right. And that wouldn't be pretty. Ramirez is 36 years old, hasn't played in more than 133 games since 2005 and there is some sentiment that he is no longer the force that he once was even when healthy.
Ramirez talked to reporters briefly before last night's game against the Yankees at Fenway Park. According to the Associated Press, he said he would agree to a trade that would make both him and the Red Sox happy, but added that he doesn't expect to be moved.
"I'm tired of them. They're tired of me," he was quoted as saying.