There were indications yesterday that the Phillies might soon have to turn their attention away from an impact starting pitcher and focus instead on other areas of the team that could use some fortification.
Roy Oswalt, the top remaining starting pitcher available on the trade market, does not want to play for the Phillies, FoxSports.com reported in a story that cites a source "with direct knowledge of his thinking." That report jibed with others that have trickled out over the past few days, most of which named St. Louis as his preferred destination.
Oswalt, who has a no-trade clause, can essentially handpick his next destination, although his $16 million salary for next season limits the number of teams that can afford him.
The Phillies also are known to have interest in adding a reliever and a hitter, although with Jamie Moyer possibly out for the season they continue to view starting pitching as a top priority.
Joe Blanton rebounded from a rough first inning to allow two runs in six innings yesterday and has recorded quality starts in five of his last eight outings, while 2009 rookie star J.A. Happ recently rejoined the rotation after a 2 1/2-month absence. The Phillies could turn their attention toward adding a hitter or reliever with the hope that Blanton and Happ rediscover the form they displayed last season, when they were the team's most consistent pitchers.
Toronto, which could make available several relievers and outfielder/second baseman Jose Bautista, had a scout at yesterday's game, and Phillies special-assignment scout Charley Kerfeld followed the Blue Jays for several days earlier this month. Toronto's bullpen features lefthander Scott Downs and righthanders Kevin Gregg, Jason Frasor and Casey Janssen.
The Phillies could also attempt to trade for one of several middle-of-the-rotation pitchers who could be available, including Pittsburgh's Paul Maholm, Milwaukee's Dave Bush and Baltimore's Jeremy Guthrie.
Or, they could hope Oswalt ends up catching a case of Roy Halladay-esque brotherly love.
Plenty of trade-deadline alarm bells started sounding yesterday morning when Charlie Manuel posted a lineup that did not include Jayson Werth, a frequent subject of speculation thanks to his contract status and the Phillies' pursuit of pitching help. But Manuel said it was simply a day off for his rightfielder, who had started 18 consecutive games.
It also gave him a chance to start Ross Gload, who can use such at-bats to stay sharp for his role as a pinch-hitter. Gload was one of the top pinch-hitters in the National League last season, but he also saw significantly more playing time with Florida than the Phillies have given him this season. He now has nine starts this season; last year, he started 21 of the Marlins' first 99 games.
But Gload is making a case for himself: After going 1-for-3 and scoring a run yesterday, he is 12-for-30 with three runs, seven RBI, one home run, and just two strikeouts in nine starts.
Rollins banged up
More than an hour after the game, Jimmy Rollins was in the training room receiving treatment on his left foot. The shortstop fouled an 0-1 pitch from Jason Hammel off the foot in the second inning. Although he fell to the dirt in pain and spent several moments trying to walk it off, Rollins played the duration of the game.
X-rays on the foot were negative; the official diagnosis is a contusion. A Phillies spokesman said the team would provide any further update today.
"He fouled a ball off the instep of his foot, and that was hurting him," Manuel said. "But he wanted to stay in the game." *