PITTSBURGH - After the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, Ruben Amaro Jr. said that, for the first time since the World Series, he was not looking for anything in particular. The Phillies' general manager had bolstered his rotation and bench by acquiring Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco from Cleveland, and finally felt secure with the roster.
With the waiver trade deadline approaching - players must be in the system by 11:59 p.m. on Monday to be eligible for the postseason - Amaro feels essentially the same way.
"We continue to look at the waiver wire and see if there is a way to tweak here and there," he said yesterday. "But the things we do, we will likely use internal options."
When Greg Dobbs hurt his calf on Friday, the Phils' bench suddenly became weaker from the left side. Matt Stairs' last hit came on July 11, so the Phillies are momentarily without a productive lefty pinch-hitter. But Amaro said he was not particularly concerned.
"I still consider our bench a strength," he said. "Dobbs' injury is not particularly serious, and I still view Dobbs and Stairs as good as anyone else in the league in those roles."
If Dobbs does not heal in a timely fashion, one internal option could be Andy Tracy, a lefty first baseman who has 24 home runs this season for triple-A Lehigh Valley.
After Brad Lidge blew his ninth save of the season Tuesday night, manager Charlie Manuel continued to offer his support for the beleaguered closer. Yesterday, Amaro echoed that support, but he also made clear that any decision regarding Lidge's status was mostly Manuel's.
"Those are mainly decisions for Charlie to make," Amaro said. "But I believe in Charlie and I believe in Lidge. There is no question he has had some rough games. He has had some struggles, but when Lidge is pitching right, I'll put my money on Lidge."
Yesterday, Manuel acknowledged feeling concern about his closer. Asked if a rest like the one he granted a slumping Jimmy Rollins in late June might be helpful for Lidge, Manuel said, "If you go back and think about it, we've already tried a lot of things. I think we've tried rest. I'm concerned, and I'm sure he is, too."
Manuel also was asked whether he would use Lidge four days in a row again. After Tuesday's game, Lidge said that, while he told pitching coach Rich Dubee he could pitch if needed, he was fatigued from back-to-back-to-back appearances.
"If he's sore or if he's stiff or whatever and he feels like it's going to be tough for him, if he tells me, I won't use him," Manuel said. "I mean that. But at the same time, I felt like he was ready."
Three injured relievers, all of whom have progressed slowly but are still expected to return this season, are scheduled to participate in rehabilitation activities today, Amaro said.
Clay Condrey (strained oblique muscle in his side) is expected to throw a simulated game; J.C Romero (strained left forearm) is expected to throw a bullpen session; and Antonio Bastardo (left shoulder strain) is slated to appear in a rehabilitation game in the Gulf Coast League.
If all three return, the Phillies will have an overabundance of relievers if they make the playoffs. Though hardly a serious problem, the team may have to make difficult decisions about which relievers to include on a potential postseason roster.
"We're not thinking about that right now," Amaro said. "Our focus is on getting these guys back and healthy. With the addition of three or four guys, that should be very helpful to us in September."