LAS VEGAS - The Phillies' mantra since winning the World Series has been that they are looking for pitching. After that, they would like to get some pitching. And, if they have anything left, they'll try to add pitching.

Charlie Manuel gets it. He knows that he got to raise a big, shiny trophy in October because of pitching and defense.

At the same time, when he thinks about baseball he usually thinks about hitting. So it's fair to say that his priorities may differ slightly from many of the team's baseball people.

"Our situation right now, we're still trying to find what we're going to do in leftfield and for a righthanded hitter" he said yesterday morning at the Bellagio as the annual winter meetings wound down.

"We need a righthanded bat, but we're not talking about just any righthanded bat. We need a good righthanded bat. What [Pat] Burrell brought to the table, he could hit 30 homers and had a high on-base percentage. And if you look at the runs that the guys scored after replacing him [as pinch-runners] he could score 100 runs a year. Any way you look at it, his production was still very big."

Burrell, of course, has filed for free agency. The next sign that the Phillies are interested in bringing him back will be the first.

So the Phillies continue to look for his replacement, or at least somebody who can platoon in left with Greg Dobbs, Matt Stairs and/or Geoff Jenkins.

And while the organization may have mentally moved on from the Burrell era, if the financial part could be worked out, Manuel would welcome his return. "The more I look at it and I see what's out there . . . I don't see why we wouldn't want him back," the manager said. "I haven't seen a guy that's proven. We need somebody who can hit, who can put up some numbers for us."

Gimme five

The Phillies envision righthander Robert Mosebach, selected from the Angels' organization in the Rule 5 draft yesterday, as competing for a spot in the bullpen this season.

"He's 6-4 with a power arm," said pro scouting coordinator Mike Ondo, who oversees the process for the Phillies. "He's been a starter his whole career but we got good reports on him out of the Arizona Fall League where he pitched in a relief role. Because of his experience as a starter, if he clicks, he could be a guy who gives us multiple innings out of the bullpen. He's been a horse."

Mosebach, 24, was 9-12 with a 4.62 earned run average for Double A Arkansas last season. The Phillies paid $50,000 to take a look at him and now must keep him on the active roster all season or put him through waivers and then offer him back to the Angels for $25,000.

In the minor league phase, the Phillies selected two players (second baseman Kyle Haines from the Giants and outfielder Javis Diaz from the Padres) and lost three players: catcher Richard Suomi by the Royals and righthanders Brett Harker and Ronald Hill, both by Florida.

Also, Philadelphia native and William Tennent High School graduate Carl Loadenthal, who was on the roster of the Double A Mississippi Braves, was selected by the Mets in the Triple A phase and assigned to the New Orleans Zephyrs roster.


Charlie Manuel, on his contract extension, announced earlier in the week: "I thought the extension was good. I'm looking forward to spending it" . . . The deadline to offer contracts to players is midnight. It's possible that the Phillies may nontender at least one player, making him a free agent . . . Brad Lidge's wife, Lindsay, has given birth to the couple's second child, Rowan Thomas. *