ATLANTA - No Phillies pitchers were injured in yesterday's 4-2 win over Atlanta at Turner Field, which seemed an improvement over the first two games of this series.
But as it turned out, the team could not escape town without losing another member of its hobbled staff. As the players dressed and hurried to leave for Florida, manager Charlie Manuel and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. revealed that Brett Myers was suffering from soreness in his right shoulder, and would see team physician Michael Ciccotti tomorrow.
The announcement marred what had been an effective weekend for a heavily used bullpen, culminating in Brad Lidge's save yesterday.
Myers, returning from June hip surgery, had hoped to become an important late-inning reliever for the Phils during the postseason. As Lidge struggled, Myers became a possible candidate to close playoff games.
But after pitching five times between Sept. 5 and Sept. 12, Myers experienced soreness in a shoulder that had not been a part of a major-league pitch since May 27. He was not available for comment after yesterday's game.
"He's got some soreness in the back of his shoulder," Amaro said. "We've been kind of protecting him. I guess he sustained it about eight or 10 days ago. . . . He's scheduled to see Mike Ciccotti on Tuesday to see if there is anything very serious about it. . . . [The training staff] is saying it's a possible strain."
Myers planned to travel to his family home in Jacksonville, Fla., last night before visiting Ciccotti tomorrow.
Amaro went on to explain that Myers felt pain in the his latissimus (back) muscle, and in the back of his shoulder. "I don't think he came back [from hip surgery] too quick," he said. "Probably the change of role, and pitching a lot."
Manuel said that Myers could be available "Thursday or Friday," but Amaro later declined to set any timetable until the examination tomorrow. Manuel also said that Myers played long toss at a distance of about 150 feet yesterday, and "felt good."
In the last week, Chan Ho Park (hamstring) and Pedro Martinez (neck) joined J.A. Happ (strained side muscle), Scott Eyre (elbow), and J.C. Romero (forearm) as important Phils pitchers who are injured.
The bullpen was, nonetheless, a strength for the team in this series, as it took two of three from the fading Braves. Because of injuries and a 111-minute rain delay yesterday that limited starter Cliff Lee to four innings, relievers pitched 17 of 27 innings in Atlanta. They allowed just seven runs, six earned.
The most significant relief appearance of the weekend was Lidge's yesterday. He struck out two, walked one and allowed a run-scoring single by Brian McCann. His slider appeared sharp, inducing two swinging strikeouts.
"That's probably as good as I've felt all year," said Lidge, who has made similar comments many times this season. "I know I have said that a few times, but, man, I've kind of given myself a higher leg kick, and it has helped me stay back and get a lot more on the ball. I was getting some swinging strikes today that I haven't had really the entire season. I think that is a big indication for me that my stuff has come all the way back."
Back or not, Lidge will need more of his regular bullpen mates to return if the Phils hope to repeat as World Series champions. The manager was open about that fact.
"We need Romero and Scott Eyre," Manuel said, without adding the obvious, that he could also use Myers.
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