In the next two weeks, the Phillies will have to piece together the middle innings in their bullpen.
Just as one injured reliever (Ryan Madson) is set to begin his rehab, another (Chad Durbin) headed to the disabled list Thursday. Durbin has a mild right hamstring strain, expected to keep him out for two to three weeks. He has been one of the Phillies' most reliable middle-innings options.
"We can always upgrade our pitching," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "So can most teams. Right now, we need some depth in our pitching."
Madson, who will begin a rehab assignment Sunday for single-A Clearwater, threw a bullpen session Thursday at Citizens Bank Park.
"I want to come back now," said Madson, who should be back before the all-star break.
A healthy Madson will be a huge boost to the bullpen. Until then, without Durbin, the Phillies might need key innings from lefthander Mike Zagurski and righthander David Herndon.
Lefthander Antonio Bastardo (left elbow inflammation) said he will not begin throwing for another three or four days. He is eligible to come off the disabled list July 1, but it's unlikely he'll be ready then.
The Phillies recalled righthander Nelson Figueroa to replace Durbin primarily because he can give the Phillies length in their bullpen if needed.
Entering the season, Manuel said, he envisioned having three relievers who could pitch multiple innings: Danys Baez, Jose Contreras and Durbin.
"As it's turned out, Baez is definitely a one-inning guy and Contreras is a four-out guy," Manuel said Wednesday. "Durbin can go two innings when he's healthy."
Baez and Contreras have been shaky of late and sometimes not an option on back-to-back days. Baez has an 8.10 ERA in seven June outings. Contreras, who began so well, has a 6.43 ERA in nine June games.
That's where Zagurski, Herndon and even Figueroa could fit in.
Figueroa remained in the organization after being designated for assignment three weeks ago. He pitched well as a starter in triple-A, and the Phillies summoned Figueroa to be their long man when Durbin went down. Figueroa said the opportunity to pitch regularly helped him.
He was 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA for Lehigh Valley.
"It's hard to turn your back on an organization that's given you a chance," Figueroa said.
Ruiz feeling better
The only thing Carlos Ruiz remembers from last Friday night was the sound of the broken bat hitting his head. After that, it's all a blur.
"I felt like I wanted to throw up," said Ruiz, who suffered a minor concussion.
The catcher is improving. He swung off a tee Thursday and plans to take batting practice for the first time Friday. Ruiz is eligible to come off the disabled list July 4, and he said he expects to be ready by then.
"Right now I feel real good," Ruiz said. "I don't feel dizzy."
Dane Sardinha earned his first start as a Phillie on Thursday, giving Brian Schneider some rest. Sardinha hit the first home run of his career.
Jimmy Rollins had a scheduled day off Thursday, a day game after a night game. The Phillies will be cautious when possible with Rollins during the first few weeks of his return to the lineup. . . . According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Rollins had the second-most career home runs (148) without a walk-off homer until Wednesday. New York's Mark Teixeira has the most, 254. . . . Lefthander J.A. Happ (strained left elbow) will make a fifth rehab start Tuesday for Lehigh Valley. Happ's rehab assignment must end July 7 unless the Phillies keep him on the disabled list.