The operative phrase is "right now," because chances are things will change in the next week. If the Phillies flip Joe Blanton in a pitching-starved trade market, Kendrick can reassume a role in the starting rotation.
And if the Phillies re-sign Cole Hamels to a megadeal to invest some $70 million in three pitchers for 2013, there must be frugality elsewhere. Vance Worley will make about $500,000 in 2013 and Kendrick is signed for $4.5 million, hardly money typically allocated for a sixth starter and long man - especially if the budget could be tight.
The starting spot could finally be Kendrick's again.
"I think he could start in a lot of rotations," pitching coach Rich Dubee said.
How about for the Phillies?
"I don't know," Dubee said. "How the hell would I know? I don't know what our team would look like."
Kendrick's 2012 numbers have replicated his career numbers - with one exception. Kendrick is striking out 6.4 batters per nine innings, far eclipsing his career rate of 4.1 entering this season.
Dubee sees more confidence these days from Kendrick, which has translated to aggressiveness on the mound.
"He has a finish pitch," Dubee said. "His change-up is a finish pitch. He never had that before. That would probably be the biggest reason. He's never had an out pitch."
Kendrick is throwing his change-up more than ever, according to pitch data. Dubee noted that, at times, Kendrick is too cutter-happy "because it's like a new toy." The change-up, though, has shown real progress.
"I just feel good right now pitching," Kendrick said. "It doesn't matter right now where it's at."
Placido Polanco has yet to require a stint on the disabled list in 2012, but he's missed small chunks of games because of nagging injuries. His troublesome back is the latest ailment, and it forced him to the bench again Monday.
Manager Charlie Manuel said Polanco first informed him of the injury last week in Los Angeles. Polanco was scheduled for an examination with team physician Michael Ciccotti.
The Phillies have the worst production (a .606 OPS) from third base of any National League team. Polanco's batting average peaked at .294 on June 4. Since then, he is hitting .184 in 32 games.
"At times, he's showed me his bat speed is OK," Manuel said.
The 36-year-old has a $5.5 million option for 2013 that is unlikely to be exercised by the club.
Ryan Howard and Chase Utley each played in their fourth straight game for the first time. "Somewhere along the line, I've got to turn them loose," Manuel said. "But at the same time, I don't want to overdo it. I don't want them to have a relapse and stuff like that." . . . The Phillies' victory Sunday snapped a seven-game losing streak at home. Had they lost, it would have been the longest home drought since 1972, when the Phillies lost 10 in a row at Veterans Stadium.
Contact Matt Gelb at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @magelb.