Phillies Notes: It's Kendrick, Happ for now

Kyle Kendrick will return from triple A to the Phils' pitching rotation this weekend.
Kyle Kendrick will return from triple A to the Phils' pitching rotation this weekend.
Posted: July 23, 2010

ST. LOUIS - On Wednesday night, Cole Hamels sat beside Roy Halladay in the dugout while Joe Blanton pitched. Hamels looked around and cracked a joke.

"All the starters were on the bench," Hamels said. "It was just Roy and I. We were wondering where they were."

After keeping their weekend rotation under wraps for most of the week with hopes of completing a trade, the Phillies have settled on their lone internal options.

Kyle Kendrick and J.A. Happ will fill the two currently vacated spots on the pitching staff, starting Saturday and Sunday respectively, against the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park.

Earlier in the week, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. insinuated a trade for a pitcher was coming. He optioned Kendrick to triple-A on Tuesday and did not announce a replacement.

The Phillies turned their attention to acquiring one of the frontline starters on the market, Houston's Roy Oswalt or Arizona's Dan Haren. Reports said Tuesday the Phillies were close to trading for Oswalt but those talks have stalled.

"I'm not going to get into that," Amaro said Thursday of any possible deal.

Arizona CEO Derrick Hall told reporters the Diamondbacks want young, quality major-league ready pitching in return for Haren. The Phillies don't have a plethora of that.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday that the Cardinals had become Oswalt's top choice. Oswalt holds a full no-trade clause and will determine the fate of any possible deal.

It appears, at least for this weekend, the Phillies will not acquire a pitcher.

Instead, they will turn to Kendrick, who was demoted just three days ago, and Happ, who has not pitched in a major-league game since the second week of the season.

Jamie Moyer will be placed on the disabled list with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor pronator tendon in his left elbow.

"With one door closed, hopefully another opens up," Amaro said.

Kendrick allowed seven runs in five innings to St. Louis Monday. When he was demoted the next day, Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said Kendrick most needed consistency.

Now he will try to attain that back in the majors.

"You better be flexible in this game, that's for sure," Dubee said. "It's another opportunity. That's how he has to approach it. We don't have a tremendous amount of depth. Kyle is one of our better guys. He has to take it as another door that opened up."

Happ last pitched for the Phillies on April 15. In two starts he is 1-0 and has yet to allow an earned run. But Happ hasn't pitched in the majors in more than three months after suffering a strained left elbow. When his rehab assignment expired and the Phillies hadn't seen enough positive results in Happ's minor-league outings, they optioned him to triple-A Lehigh Valley.

His ERA there is 4.84 in five games (four starts) but Dubee said his recent performances have been encouraging. Happ threw three scoreless innings Tuesday before being pulled for a possible call-up. He will be pitching on regular rest Sunday.

"We've seen enough," Dubee said. "The last two innings of his previous start were very, very good. And his three innings were very good again."

Extra bases

Roy Halladay (10-8, 2.40 ERA) will start the opener of the Rockies series. He will oppose righthander Aaron Cook. . . . Kendrick's reward for his quick return to the majors is going against National League Cy Young candidate Ubaldo Jimenez. The righthander is 15-1 with a 2.38 ERA and started the All-Star Game for Charlie Manuel's NL squad. . . . Ryan Howard is hitting .406 (13 for 32) since the all-star break. He is batting .303 for the season. . . . The Phillies signed outfielder Timo Perez to a minor-league deal and assigned him to double-A Reading.

Contact staff writer Matt Gelb

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