SAN DIEGO - Tonight's scheduled pitching matchup features an interesting juxtaposition for the Phillies: Antonio Bastardo vs. San Diego's Jake Peavy. One is a product of the farm system in a tryout to replace Brett Myers, while the other's name has been raised - though never by the Phillies - as part of the intense rumor mill that has followed Myers' injury.
The front office continues to explore the trade market for a starter with major-league experience, but Bastardo will be Myers' replacement today. Myers is likely out for the season because of surgery to replace a torn labrum in his hip, which will probably occur Thursday.
Manager Charlie Manuel knows the rotation needs an upgrade. "I don't care if it's outside the system, inside the system, or whatever," Manuel said. "We definitely need to . . . upgrade our pitching. I think once Myers goes out, we've got to find somebody close to Myers to replace him. Myers is a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. We pay him a lot of money to pitch for us, and you would definitely say he was our No. 2."
Bastardo, 23, whose English is limited and who did not speak to the media yesterday, was 3-2 with a 1.89 ERA in 11 games, seven of the starts with Lehigh Valley and double-A Reading. In two triple-A starts, Bastardo struck out 12 and walked three, allowing 11 hits in 13 innings.
The righthander features a low-90s fastball, slider and change-up. Despite a brief conversion to the bullpen earlier this season, which the team saw as a potential strategy to address lefthander J.C. Romero's 50-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances, the Phillies regard Bastardo as a starter.
His performance tonight could determine his immediate future, and the team is open to keeping him in the rotation as long as he pitches well. "He's getting the chance to pitch in the big leagues," Manuel said. "Of course, his goal is to stay in the big leagues."
After ranking sixth among National League outfielders in all-star votes last week, Phillies leftfielder Raul Ibanez has moved up to second. Ibanez ranked second in the league before yesterday's games in home runs (17) and runs batted in (46), and on-base-plus slugging (1.079).
The top three outfield vote-getters will start the game. All starters and reserves for the 80th All-Star Game on July 14 in St. Louis will be announced July 5. The Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun leads NL outfielders with 908,745 votes, and Ibanez has 817,849. The Chicago Cubs' Alfonso Soriano is third (775,319), the New York Mets' Carlos Beltran is fourth (741,875), and the Los Angeles Dodgers' Manny Ramirez is fifth (635,530). Ramirez, serving a 50-game suspension for failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs, was in fourth place last week.
Dodgers manager Joe Torre has said Ramirez should not participate in the game even if voted in, but Manuel - who will manage the National League squad and coached Ramirez for years in the Cleveland Indians system - expressed a different view yesterday. "I think if he is elected by Major League Baseball procedures, I think it's fine," Manuel said.
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins and first baseman Ryan Howard are second at their positions, trailing Florida's Hanley Ramirez and St. Louis' Albert Pujols, respectively.
Howard and Padres third baseman Adrian Gonzalez played on the same field at Petco Park last night and shared another distinction: They were named National League co-players of the week. Last week, both hit four home runs and 10 RBIs and posted a 1.000 slugging percentage, tied for the league lead in all categories. . . . Mike Koplove, a reliever at triple-A Lehigh Valley, was granted his release.