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Myers disappointed by outing vs. Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Brett Myers does not want to talk about whether he will start for the Phillies against Atlanta on opening night.

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Brett Myers does not want to talk about whether he will start for the Phillies against Atlanta on opening night.

"What, am I going to say no? I'll do whatever they need," Myers said when asked if he wanted the ball April 5. The righthander threw five innings in yesterday's 3-0 loss to Boston, allowing five hits and two runs. He walked five and struck out one.

Asked which pitches he was unhappy with in yesterday's loss, Myers said: "Every one of them, but I think I made the pitch when I had to. . . . I'm going to have games like that during the year. It's how I deal with it. Every time I go out there, I'm not going to feel 100 percent."

Indeed, other than a Mike Lowell two-run homer in the first, Myers maneuvered out of trouble, stranding five baserunners while throwing 91 pitches, 48 for strikes.

"He scuffled," said pitching coach Rich Dubee. "That's not all bad, either. He made some pitches when he needed to."

Cole Hamels seems unlikely to start opening night after suffering from tightness and inflammation in his left elbow. Though Hamels is optimistic about his health, the delay may have pushed his first start back by several days. Yesterday, Myers offered no thoughts on whether he should fill in.

Manager Charlie Manuel wasn't ready to announce that Hamels would not make the opening start, although he expressed confidence that many of his other pitchers could fill in capably. "We can start Myers, we can start [Joe] Blanton, we can start [Jamie] Moyer if we want to," Manuel said.

Dubee downplayed the significance of the issue. Starting opening night "probably means more to the player, but it's just another start," he said.

Expecting big things. Although the Phillies were shut out yesterday, Manuel made an optimistic prediction about his offense. "We're going to have a big year," he said. "I know we can do better than we did the second half of the season offensively. We're going have a big year. We've got guys who can put up bigger numbers than last year.

"[Jimmy] Rollins is going to hit better, and Chase Utley is going to hit better, and [Ryan] Howard is going to hit better, although he hit 48 homers. . . . I expect [Jayson] Werth to get better. I expect [Raul] Ibanez is going to put the ball in play more for us than the guy we had before [Pat Burrell]. [Carlos] Ruiz has to get better. [Pedro] Feliz can hit better, so we're talking about all nine of them."

Backup battle. Neither Ronny Paulino (.174 batting average) nor Chris Coste (.071) has emerged as a clear leader in the competition for backup catcher. Manuel said that he would not decide on that or most other roster moves until the final exhibition games in Philadelphia on April 3-4.

"More than likely, during that time span up there, that's when we'll cut our squad," he said.

Extra bases. Hamels played long toss yesterday and remains on track to pitch in a minor-league game tomorrow. . . . Infielder Jason Donald (twisted left ankle) did not start yesterday but entered at shortstop in the seventh inning. . . . Righthander Joe Bisenius was reassigned to minor-league camp before the game.