LOS ANGELES - Shane Victorino sat at his locker yesterday with a large package of ice wrapped around his left hip and lower abdominal area.
The centerfielder was out of the lineup for the second straight night with what has officially been diagnosed as a left hip sprain, but he said he has a good chance of starting this afternoon in the third game of a four-game series against the Dodgers.
"I won't say, 'Yeah' [for sure]," said Victorino, who injured the hip while rounding first base on a double in the first inning against the Padres on Wednesday, "but I think so."
Victorino participated in the same sprinting and agility drills that he performed before the Phillies' 3-0 win over the Dodgers on Thursday night. He said he would be available to pinch-hit in last night's game, just as he was Thursday, but he would not start as a precautionary measure.
"It feels a lot better today," Victorino said.
Regular rightfielder Jayson Werth has played center in each of the last three games, including starts Thursday and last night. Utlity player Eric Bruntlett started in right for the second straight night.
While manager Charlie Manuel would obviously rather have his switch-hitting Gold Glover in center and Werth in right, he said he was pleased with how his replacements have managed. Werth, who entered Wednesday night mired in a 7-for-52 slump, went 3-for-6 with two RBI and two runs in his first two starts in center.
Bruntlett, meanwhile, threw out Clayton Kershaw at second base on Thursday after the Dodgers' pitcher attempted to stretch a third-inning single into a double.
"I think [Bruntlett] did fine," Manuel said. "He hasn't had much work in the outfield this year, but he can play outfield. Sometimes you need to play some to stay sharp. He did good. He made a good throw."
Bastardo it is
For the first time since Antonio Bastardo held the Padres to one run in six innings during his major league debut on Tuesday night, Charlie Manuel said the 23-year-old lefthander would definitely start tomorrow night against the Dodgers. Manuel said on Tuesday that Bastardo would likely get another start. Yesterday, he removed any doubt.
"He will start Sunday night, I'll tell you that," Manuel said.
Bastardo relied almost exclusively on his fastball in stymying the Padres, using a velocity that sat in the low-90s and occasionally touched 95 to attack opposing hitters. Although Bastardo throws a changeup and a slider, Manuel said the young lefty was gripping the ball too tightly on his offspeed pitches, negating their effectiveness.
"I think that it might take him two or three starts to kind of slow his adrenaline down because he was definitely wound up," Manuel said. "But he was wound up in a good way. He definitely wasn't scared and he definitely wanted to pitch. He was very gutty - went right at him, mostly with a fastball. He might have to start getting his slider and his changeup over every now and then, though."
The century mark
The Phillies have won 100 games in a season twice in their 126-year history: in 1975 and '76 under manager Danny Ozark, who led them to a 101-61 record in both seasons. So it is worth noting that, heading into last night's game, they were on pace to be playing for their 100th victory on the last day of the season. With 32 wins in their first 53 games, they were on pace of 99.6 wins, their best clip since 2001, when they were 35-21 on June 5.
The Phillies also entered the night with a four-game lead over the Mets in the National League East, their biggest margin since that same 2001 season, when they held an eight-game cushion on June 1.
Then again, it's hard to put too much stock in such extrapolations. After all, the Phillies went 51-58 after June 1 in 2001 and finished 86-76.
Chris Coste was behind the plate last night for the third time in Jamie Moyer's last four starts. Moyer entered the night 4-1 with a 3.90 ERA in five starts with Coste at catcher, compared to 0-4 with a 10.52 ERA in five starts with starter Carlos Ruiz.
The Phillies entered last night with a 20-6 road record, the best mark in the majors. In fact, the Phillies had a better road record than any other team had posted at home . . . The MLB draft, in which the Phillies first pick is at No. 75 overall, begins Tuesday night. *
For more Phillies coverage and opinion, read David Murphy's blog, High Cheese, at http://go.philly.com/highcheese.