Phillies Notes: With Madson out, Phillies look to young bullpen

The Phillies placed closer Ryan Madson on the disabled list Tuesday. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
The Phillies placed closer Ryan Madson on the disabled list Tuesday. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 29, 2011

There remains a degree of uncertainty surrounding the pain in Ryan Madson's hand. Only this much is sure: The Phillies closer will not pitch until Monday at the earliest, when he is eligible to come off the disabled list - which is where the 30-year-old righthander found himself Tuesday.

Beyond that, the details of the bruised hand are unclear, such as how Madson pitched in 13 games after suffering the initial blow on a comebacker and how long the Phillies will be without their trusted pitcher.

"We decided we're not going to mess with it," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said, "and put him on the DL and pitch him when he's ready."

He became the third pitcher designated as a Phillies closer to require the disabled list since the beginning of spring training. Baseball's most dangerous position now falls in the hands of two twenty-something pitchers - Antonio Bastardo and Michael Stutes.

Charlie Manuel said if he had to pick one pitcher to serve as closer for an extended period, it would be Bastardo, the 25-year-old lefty who has held opponents to a major-league low .117 batting average.

Bastardo was surprised to hear the idea of him closing. Then he smiled.

"I'm here to pitch - no matter where, no matter when," he said.

With Brad Lidge and Jose Contreras on the disabled list in addition to Madson, five of the seven bullpen spots are inhabited by pitchers who have spent time at triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2011.

Madson received a cortisone injection Friday and the team had hoped that would eliminate the inflammation that caused the pain. Madson was struck on the palm by a David Murphy chopper in a game against the Texas Rangers on May 20.

He pitched in 13 games after that with a 4.15 ERA, fewer strikeouts than innings pitched, and more hits than innings pitched. Opponents hit .300 off him in those 13 innings and he clearly was not himself.

Madson has not discussed the injury with reporters. He was unavailable for comment again Tuesday.

"When he made contact with the ball on the comebacker, it was sore," Amaro said. "He never really had an issue with it. I guess it got to the point where enough fluid ran into his hand and the inflammation affected his nerves. It was still bothering him. When we did the injection on him, we were hopeful it would resolve real quickly and it didn't. He's still feeling numbness and pain in his ring finger."

Madson last pitched June 18 and his disabled list stint is retroactive to June 19, which means he could return Monday. Manuel said he had expected to have Madson for a portion of the Boston series. That will not happen.

"A couple more days, I don't think that's going to kill us," Manuel said. "We want him back healthy."

Until then, youth is served in the bullpen.

"They've been doing well," Manuel said. "They've passed all the tests. They deserve to get a chance."

Oswalt in July?

Amaro did his best to persuade reporters that Roy Oswalt's back injury is not serious enough to keep him out until August, which was originally expected.

"He may be back before that," Amaro said. "A lot of it depends on how he feels as he rehabs. We're a little more optimistic than the reports people are throwing out there about August."

The Phillies will know more Friday after Oswalt makes a visit to Dallas for a second opinion from Drew Dossett, a spinal surgeon.

Extra bases

Joe Blanton (right elbow inflammation) is not scheduled to pitch off a mound in a bullpen session until Monday in Clearwater, Fla. . . . Righthander Andrew Carpenter replaced Madson on the 25-man roster. The former starter and second-round draft pick was moved to the bullpen during the spring and excelled in triple A. Over 452/3 innings, he struck out 51 and walked just nine.

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