ATLANTA - Pedro Martinez rode a stationary bicycle for about 40 minutes yesterday morning, walked to his locker and rubbed his neck.
"Not too good," the Phillies righthander said. "I feel it in the back [of the neck], it shoots to the right side."
Martinez injured his neck swinging and missing in the second inning of Saturday's loss to the Atlanta Braves, and left after throwing one warm-up pitch before the fourth. "I didn't sleep very well last night," he said, grimacing while massaging the afflicted area.
Martinez said he expected to see a chiropractor in Miami, where the Phillies travel tonight. Asked if he might miss his next start, Martinez said, "Thank God for that day off [today]," which seemed to imply that four days of rest might be not be sufficient, but the extra day provided by the schedule might create enough time to recover.
That start would come Friday in Milwaukee, and Martinez remained cagey when asked about his status for it. "I think it's going to be great," he said of Friday. "Day before Saturday!"
Injuries to Martinez and J.A. Happ (strained side muscle) further complicate the competition for the fourth and final playoff-rotation spot. Before Martinez's injury, manager Charlie Manuel strongly hinted that the lefthanded Happ would be sent to the bullpen because of a dearth of healthy lefties there.
Happ threw his regularly scheduled between-starts bullpen session yesterday, and he and pitching coach Rich Dubee continued to say that Happ was healthy and would make his scheduled start Thursday in Milwaukee.
"I wouldn't say he is definite, but I would say he has a good chance," Manuel said.
In and out
Shane Victorino made his first start since leaving Thursday's game with a stomach virus, but he was ejected in the first inning after second base umpire Chad Fairchild ruled him out trying to steal second. Replays showed a very close play, with Victorino appearing to slide in under the tag.
"No, that wasn't good," Manuel said. "I was headed out of the dugout, walking to argue the play, but he got thrown out of the game. That wasn't good."
Victorino declined comment.
With lefthanders Scott Eyre (elbow) and J.C. Romero (forearm) unavailable, rookie Sergio Escalona pitched two scoreless innings over the weekend. His appearance yesterday ended when he hit lefty Nate McLouth in the seventh.
Despite the need for a lefthanded specialist in the bullpen, Manuel will not use Escalona in many key spots, or consider him for the postseason roster.
"We need a couple lefties, and experienced lefties, too," Manuel said. If you get people out, you get them out, but he's young. Just like today - he needs experience. He hit the lefty there."
Catcher Carlos Ruiz (sprained left wrist) continued to report progress, and hoped to be available tomorrow. . . . Scott Eyre (elbow) said he felt good yesterday, the morning after throwing his bullpen session following a cortisone shot. Eyre is scheduled to throw again tomorrow. . . . Chan Ho Park (hamstring) played catch Saturday and said he was encouraged. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Park might pitch again in the regular season. . . . Happ's chief competition for National League rookie of the year, righthander Tommy Hanson, took the loss yesterday. His record fell to 10-4, and his earned run average rose to 2.85. Happ is 10-4 with a 2.77 ERA.