NEW YORK - It was another sign that the Phillies' losing is starting to concern the higher-ups.
For more than 30 minutes before Wednesday's game against the Yankees, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and assistant GM Scott Proefrock met with manager Charlie Manuel and his entire coaching staff.
"We're always talking about our club," pitching coach Rich Dubee said.
Sure, but this sort of meeting is unusual. The coaches filed out of the room one by one to the field, where the players were preparing for batting practice.
No one would discuss what was said in the meeting.
"We were kicking around a few things," Amaro said.
Manuel was asked if he was worried that his players were assuming the team would turn it around in the second half, when the Phillies have traditionally been better.
"You don't turn it on and off," Manuel said. "Do I worry about that? I hope that's not the case because it doesn't happen that way. The game will take care of you. When you think you've got this game figured out, it will shut you down. I don't think our players do that."
During the weekend series in Boston, Manuel said he had started to hear people around his team talking about losing for the first time in years. Manuel said it wasn't his players. So who was it? Clubhouse attendants? Front-office personnel? He wouldn't say.
The Phillies had been looking for some sort of kick- start. Amaro issued a quasi-state-of-the-team address Tuesday in which he voiced his support for the Phils' starting lineup and dismissed the notion that big moves were needed. So it's likely the meeting was more about what the team can do with its current parts.
Amaro, however, did not rule out a move to acquire pitching down the line. The GM did reject the notion that he was negotiating for the return of Pedro Martinez, as ESPN reported Tuesday.
"You're going to start hearing all kinds of stuff now," Amaro said.
Nothing has changed with Martinez since the off-season; Amaro remains in communication with Martinez's agent, Fernando Cuza. If there is mutual interest, something could happen. But nothing is imminent.
Ruiz is aching
Manuel pinch-hit for catcher Carlos Ruiz in the ninth inning of Tuesday's game, and that was the first sign. Ruiz is hurting. He's in a 0-for-22 slump and has a sore left ankle, injured in the ninth inning of Sunday's win against Boston.
On Wednesday, Ruiz sat as Brian Schneider started at catcher.
The injury occurred when Ruiz couldn't handle a J.C. Romero pitch that went to the backstop Sunday. Ruiz ran to fetch it but slid awkwardly into the backstop. Manuel and trainers came out to check on Ruiz, who stayed in the game.
Ruiz was in obvious pain when he ran during Tuesday's game.
He also is mired in a terrible slump at the plate. Manuel said Ruiz's swing is long right now. The catcher's batting average is down to .267. On May 12, Ruiz was hitting .354. Since then, he is batting .156 (10 for 64). He also has dealt with three injuries during that span - first a right knee sprain, then a sore right shoulder, and now the ankle.
Ruiz believes he is close to turning it around at the plate.
"It's something I'm working on right now," Ruiz said. "I think I can come back tomorrow and have the same approach I had earlier in the season. I feel like I'm seeing the ball real good. But it's something mechanical, and I'm working on it."
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins (strained right calf) went 1 for 3 for single-A Clearwater in a rehab outing in Florida. Amaro said Rollins could play nine innings for the Threshers on Thursday instead of taking a day off and playing Friday. . . . Greg Dobbs was the designated hitter Wednesday because he was 4 for 6 against Yankees starter A.J. Burnett entering the game, Manuel said. Dobbs hit an RBI single in the first inning.