Phillies Notes: Brain trust meets for three hours to discuss injuries and other issues

Posted: June 20, 2012

The meeting started at 1 p.m. Tuesday and did not end until almost 4 o'clock.

It included Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., manager Charlie Manuel, and the entire coaching staff.

By the time it was over, the players were already on the field going through some of their pregame routines in preparation for the start of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies.

John Mayberry Jr. was feeding a pitching machine as Juan Pierre practiced bunting. Backup catcher Brian Schneider was playing catch with Roy Halladay as the Phillies pitcher continued his rehab from the right shoulder injury that placed him on the disabled list last month.

So what was so important that it took nearly three hours to discuss?

"We talked about how things are going and how we can improve," Amaro said. "Outside of that, there's not much I'm going to say publicly."

Three-hour meetings before the start of a 10-game homestand are usually a pretty good indication that things are not going well, and confirmation of that can be found in the standings.

Whatever was discussed, it did not have an immediate impact on the daily injury report.

Amaro delivered more bad news with the primary subjects this time being relievers Mike Stutes and David Herndon and reserve Laynce Nix.

Stutes, out since late April with a shoulder injury, visited Dr. Lewis Yocum in Southern California on Monday.

"He hasn't really progressed as we would have liked," Amaro said of Stutes. "We'll see whether or not there may be a possibility of going in there and doing some exploratory surgery to see what's going on in there."

Herndon, also out since the end of April, had reconstructive elbow surgery performed by James Andrews, and his season is obviously over.

"That's a pretty big blow to the kid," Amaro said.

Nix, out since May 10 with a left calf strain, suffered "a little bit of a setback" during his rehab in Clearwater on Tuesday, Amaro said.

"He felt a little bit of a pull . . ., " Amaro said. "We're going to do another MRI on him just to see if there is any residual damage. He was going pretty good, too, but this is the kind of stuff that happens sometimes."

The injury updates were more positive on Halladay, second baseman Chase Utley, and first baseman Ryan Howard.

"Roy is symptom-free in his throwing program, which is great," Amaro said. "As long as he is symptom-free, we can keep moving him forward."

Utley played six innings in the field for single-A Clearwater on Monday and was the team's designated hitter Tuesday night. Howard, meanwhile, continues to play simulated games in Clearwater and made a diving stop at first base Monday, according to Amaro.

Watson visits ballpark

Shane Watson, the Phillies' first selection in this year's draft, was introduced at a news conference before the game. Watson, a righthanded pitcher from Lakewood High School in Southern California, will begin his pro career later this month with the Gulf Coast League Phillies.

Watson was joined at the news conference by righthander Mitch Gueller, the team's second overall pick, and outfielder Andrew Pullin, a fifth-round selection. Gueller and Pullin also will begin their pro careers with the GCL Phillies.

Rob Holiday, the Phillies' assistant director of scouting, said the team has signed all but two of its top 10 picks. Second-round choice Dylan Cozens, an outfielder from Arizona, played his first game with the GCL Phillies on Monday. Still unsigned are Alec Rash, a righthanded pitcher who was also a second-round selection, and Zach Green, an infielder picked in the third round.

Utley update. Chase Utley went 1 for 3 with a walk Tuesday as the designated hitter for the single-A Clearwater Threshers, one night after playing second base for the first time while rehabilitating his ailing knees. He said after Monday's game that he felt fine.

Kratz to triple A. Catcher Erik Kratz was optioned to triple-A Lehigh Valley. His roster spot will be filled Wednesday.


Contact Bob Brookover at  bbrookover@phillynews.com or follow @brookob on Twitter.

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