Phillies Notebook: Testing trade market

Posted: July 23, 2013

NEW YORK - Not too long ago, everybody in Philadelphia was yelling, "Sell, sell, sell."

A few weeks later, it seems as if the general consensus agrees with Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. to buy, buy, buy. With Philadelphia in striking distance of Atlanta and sitting in second place in the NL East, the team might be buyers after all.

The biggest need remains the search for help in the bullpen, the same need the team has had all season. After jumping out to an 11-0 lead on Friday, Kyle Kendrick and the bullpen allowed the Mets creep back. But the Phillies were able to close out the 13-8 decision while Kendrick earned his ninth win of the season.

The bullpen has struggled with consistency all season and will be without setup man Mike Adams for the remainder of 2013 and possibly into 2014. With limited options due to multiple injuries in their bullpen, Amaro believes he might be able to find help on the trade market.

"I think we are definitely trying. I think we are trying to find somebody that can help us now," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Whether it's a pitcher, outfielder or whatever, I think we are definitely trying to improve our team because we definitely need more. The better team we have, the more we can compete and have a better chance of winning."

There are a number of pitchers who might be available at the trade deadline, but whether the Phillies are willing to part with prospects to make a playoff run is still up in the air. Although the bullpen remains the problem area, according to Amaro, the club still has an eye on outfielders with the void left by Ben Revere's injury.

"We're looking for somebody that can give John [Mayberry] some support. That's really what we're trying to do," Amaro said. "John has done a very good job. We could go with John, but if we can try to improve and give him a little support, we will try to do that, too. I don't think we're going to go out and acquire an All-Star centerfielder; it's just not going to happen."

Amaro seems content with keeping his veterans, though many teams have called about acquiring a few of them, the GM said. Right now, the focus is on adding rather than subtracting.

"If you ask me today, we're going to try to improve the club somehow," Amaro said. "That could change I guess, but that's the thought process right now."

Halladay update

Roy Halladay took part in his first bullpen session yesterday since undergoing shoulder surgery. Halladay threw roughly 20 pitches and looked "fine," according to pitching coach Rich Dubee.

"I am not looking at velocity right now," Dubee said. "I am making sure he can get his arm up to where it needs to be, and ever since Day 1 it's been very encouraging because after the surgery his range of motion has been phenomenal."

After today's session, Dubee believes Halladay will be back on the mound again in 3-to-4 days. Dubee noted that the two-time Cy Young Award winner threw only fastballs during the first stage of his recovery and is far away from throwing any other pitch. When Halladay is ready and able to return, Dubee projects he will return to the rotation.

"When he is ready to pitch, he will be ready to pitch," Dubee said. "It's just a start. He'll determine how fast he can go by how he is feeling and as we increase reps and stuff. We got a plan on paper, but again that's flexible according to where he is at and how fast he progresses."

Brown delivering

Now with 24 homers and 69 RBI, Domonic Brown on Friday passed the highest total of any Phillies player from 2012. Last season, Carlos Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins each had 68 RBI, while Rollins led the team with 23 homers.

"I think it's just getting the everyday at-bats that has been the biggest difference for me," Brown said. "It feels good just going out there and having a lot of fun."

Brown's homer in the third was one of three for the Phillies on Friday. He is tied with Pittsburgh's Pedro Alvarez for second in the National League in homers, two behind Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez.

"I've seen that he has improved a lot and that he has learned what playing in the big leagues is about," Manuel said. "His confidence level is good, he communicates well with both hitting coaches and he's settled in. He's also learned a lot about himself and his hitting and he keeps learning. He's going to be better and I can see him being a better hitter than he is now. He's been really good and has been a really big surprise as far as a guy who has put up the numbers and established himself."

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