Phillies Notebook: Positive news on Phillies' injuries

Carlos Ruiz could be ready to return to the lineup next weekend in Atlanta.
Carlos Ruiz could be ready to return to the lineup next weekend in Atlanta. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff photographer)
Posted: May 09, 2011

Be it backs, arms or knees, the healing is coming along nicely.

Starting catcher Carlos Ruiz, placed on the 15-day disabled list yesterday, could be back in the lineup when the Phillies hit Atlanta on Friday. Third ace Roy Oswalt is a rehab start from rejoining the rotation. Each has a sore back.

Jose Contreras could be throwing off the mound as soon as tomorrow. Brad Lidge, the closer Contreras replaced, might be on the mound again within 10 days. Fifth starter Joe Blanton is scheduled to start tonight in Florida. Contreras and Blanton have elbow issues. Lidge is recovering from a slightly torn rotator cuff.

And, perhaps the best news of all, second baseman Chase Utley's famously tender right knee, which has delayed his 2011 debut, was fine after he cracked two home runs and went 5-for-7 at extended spring training Saturday.

"I don't think his timing's going to be like that all the time," general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. said with a laugh. "More importantly, he felt OK [yesterday]."

No games were scheduled yesterday, and Utley will resume work today.

Lidge asserted yesterday he believed he would return before the All-Star break, which seems to be Utley's track, too.

Contreras, who is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list, likely will not until a couple of rehab outings after a couple of sessions throwing off the mound.

Blanton felt good yesterday after throwing a bullpen session Saturday, and so he will not have to throw a rehab start, Amaro said.

However, Vance Worley, called up to start twice in place of Blanton, is available tonight if Blanton has problems. Worley won both starts and allowed one run in 12 innings.

Oswalt's bullpen session yesterday left pitching coach Rich Dubee encouraged.

"He's better," Dubee said.

Nevertheless, Oswalt will not start for the Phillies until he throws a few minor league innings.

"He's probably not going to be ready for the weekend," Amaro said.

The Phillies need a starter for Friday. Because the team if off Thursday, last night's starter, Cole Hamels, would be on regular rest. Long reliever Kyle Kendrick, who dealt five scoreless innings and beat the Braves on Saturday, is a candidate. So is Worley.

As of yesterday, no rehab start was scheduled for Oswalt.

Ruiz' schedule is more concrete. He will take batting practice with the Phillies this afternoon then fly to Clearwater to take part in extended spring work or play with the Class A Threshers. He has not played in a game since April 27.

He is eligible to exit the DL Friday because his move to the list is retroactive to April 28. The Phillies considered not putting him on the DL at all, since they believe he will be able to play by Wednesday.

However, with an off day Thursday and with Ruiz having aggravated the injury 3 days ago, they will err on the side of caution.

"We felt he would probably be ready to play in the middle of this week, but why not take 2 more days and place him on there and give him a couple more days' rest?" Amaro said.

Ruiz is fine with that. This is a back issue that flared last season, too.

It has quieted since he tweaked it at the end of last week.

"I don't feel anything. I'm so happy," Ruiz said. "It was completely [fine]. We'll have to see [today], after the flight [to Florida]. I feel real good. Strong."


Dane Sardinha, called up April 30 to replace Carlos Ruiz, started last night mainly because manager Charlie Manuel is worried Brian Schneider will wear down if he is used too much.

"We can't get really happy trying to catch him four, five games in a row," Manuel said. "We could run him into the ground."

Schneider, 34, is 6-1 and weighs 210 pounds. He has caught more than 100 games six times in his 11 previous seasons but has only 106 games in the last two seasons combined. He has caught 13 games for the Phillies this season, eight of them in the 12 days before last night.

comments powered by Disqus