Howie Kendrick returned on Friday as his hamstring injury has healed just in time for the Phillies to showcase him to potential suitors before the July 31 trade deadline.
Kendrick, who was on the disabled list for the second time this season, had been sidelined since June 27. He will almost certainly be traded as long as he can prove that he is healthy. Kendrick would give a contender a solid utility player. He was the team's top hitter before being injured. The Phillies plan to play Kendrick mostly in the outfield but he can play second and first base.
"I'm not even really thinking about it," Kendrick said. "I'm just thinking about playing baseball. Whatever trade is going to happen is going to happen. You can't control it. You can't worry about it. All I can do is go out and play baseball."
Kendrick played a rehab game with double-A Reading on Thursday night and was held out of Friday's Phillies lineup after telling manager Pete Mackanin that he's "a little sore." The final 10 days of July will be busy as the Phillies try to move almost all of their veterans. Kendrick, Jeremy Hellickson, Daniel Nava, Pat Neshek, and Joaquin Benoit could all be playing for new teams by the end of the month.
"We want to show that he is healthy," Mackanin said. "If there's interest out there, I'd have to think there is, we want to make sure that he's healthy. I want to go slow with him. But the minute he's good, I am going to play him as much as he can."
The Phillies made room for Kendrick by optioning Brock Stassi to triple A. Stassi had just one hit in 17 at-bats since returning from the minors. He was used almost exclusively as a pinch hitter and started just once since May 21. He could return to the team after the trade deadline.
"It's hard. I told him when he left, to ask you to do what we asked you to do is tough. That's why we have get a bunch of old farts who know how to handle that situation. He's not accustomed to that," Mackanin said. "When I was in that role, 89 looked like 98 when you're not playing. It's a tough role. And I just wasn't able to get him enough playing time to stay sharp. With the arrival of Williams and Cesar coming back, Altherr was playing, now with Altherr out, we have Kendrick back in the picture. So it was tough. He's a better hitter than he showed up here. But not many guys can do that job well."