Phillies Notebook: Phillies pitching coach Dubee ready to mix and match

Rich Dubee oversees one of the strongest starting pitching staffs in recent baseball history. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Rich Dubee oversees one of the strongest starting pitching staffs in recent baseball history. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 24, 2011

YOU CAN BET Rich Dubee is glad yesterday's earthquake did not alter his plans for the Phillies' rotation. The pitching coach had already written down a slew of different combinations as he attempts to piece things back together after a bizarre week that included a rainout, an off day and three rain delays that knocked his starters out earlier than expected.

"I had a chance to laugh with those guys last night in the dugout," Dubee said. "But I've had about 15 different rotations set up. One guy with long rest and one guy with close to normal rest, and a guy comes and says, 'Man, I'm feeling too good for that kind of rest.' Then change it around, and the next guys comes and says, 'I can't get that much rest.' "

In the end, the Phillies decided their best move was to move Cole Hamels' re-entry into the rotation from Friday to Monday, allowing them to pitch each of their other top starters with an extra day of rest, while also placing Hamels on the disabled list.

Utility man Pete Orr was promoted from Lehigh Valley. His presence will help offset the absence of Raul Ibanez, who is battling soreness in his groin that is expected to sideline him for at least a couple of days.

Roy Oswalt will start against the Marlins on Friday, followed by Roy Halladay on Saturday and Cliff Lee on Sunday. Hamels threw a bullpen session yesterday that Dubee called "absolutely fabulous."

"He's great," Dubee said of his lefthander, who skipped his previous turn in the rotation because of shoulder inflammation. "He threw the ball really, really well today, no arm discomfort, command of everything. He'd be able to go on Friday, but it's a way to kind of set up the other three or four guys."

Because Hamels' disabled-list stint is backdated to his last start, he will be eligible to be activated on Sunday. In the meantime, Orr will give the Phillies an extra body for the infield, where Jimmy Rollins is sidelined and Placido Polanco is battling a sports hernia.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Ibanez' groin soreness is in the same area but not related to the sports hernia that plagued him during the second half of the 2009 season. Ibanez had an MRI exam and received an injection of some sort, although the situation is not thought to require the disabled list.

"We'll just kind of give him some days," Amaro said. "He's day-to-day. One of the reasons we brought up Orr is because [Ibanez] is going to be down a few days."

Contreras done

The Phillies received some bad news with regard to their bullpen when righthander Jose Contreras learned he will need exploratory surgery to determine the source of the pain in his pitching elbow. The team had cautious hopes that the 39-year-old veteran would be able to rejoin the roster during the stretch run, but those hopes evaporated on Monday when Contreras was unable to finish a bullpen session.

Ruben Amaro Jr. said the team is not sure of the cause of the pain. If the procedure is to remove a loose body from the elbow, it would require a shorter recovery than if he has any damage to the flexor pronator tendon. Either way, the team is optimistic that Contreras will be able to pitch in spring training, when he will be entering the final year of a 2-year contract extension he signed this offseason.

"I think it's something that if it ends up being a tendon issue, it probably ends up being a 4- to 6-month thing," Amaro said. "A lot of it depends on the severity of it, but clearly we want to get him back for next year and get him ready for spring training."

Amaro did not know a date for the procedure, although it is likely to be performed by California-based specialist Dr. Lewis Yocum.

Howard hurting

First baseman Ryan Howard was out of the lineup last night. He is suffering from a case of bursitis in a foot, although manager Charlie Manuel said he could play if he had to and was available to pinch-hit. Howard entered last night with four hits and 10 strikeouts in his last 23 at-bats, and with lefty Jonathon Niese on the mound Manuel figured it was a good time to rest his slugger.

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