Phillies Notes: Bastardo news caught Phillies by surprise

Phillies pitcher Antonio Bastardo was suspended for 50 games for using banned drugs. Sports, D1.
Phillies pitcher Antonio Bastardo was suspended for 50 games for using banned drugs. Sports, D1. (RON CORTES / Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 08, 2013

Not until Sunday night, when Antonio Bastardo told Ruben Amaro Jr. "something might be going on," were the Phillies aware that Major League Baseball's Biogenesis investigation uncovered drug use by one of their players.

Bastardo was not obligated to inform his employer. He cut a deal for a 50-game suspension without an appeal that was announced Monday, and his bosses and teammates reacted with little support.

"I was totally surprised," manager Charlie Manuel said. "It caught me off guard. He plays a big role in our bullpen. But at the same time, I go along with our organization and everything about the rules and guidelines that Major League Baseball has. I think that you've got to obey by those, and when you do something wrong, I think they have a right to react and do what they did."

Bastardo's belongings and nameplate were removed from his locker at Citizens Bank Park. He is eligible to return for the final day of the season. That, obviously, will not happen.

The Phillies retain Bastardo's rights for next season through arbitration. The 27-year-old lefty had a 2.32 ERA this season. He stranded 11 of his 13 inherited runners and struck out more than one batter per inning.

Amaro said that Bastardo can pitch in winter ball, and that will be one method of recouping the lost innings.

Bastardo never failed a drug test, but MLB found evidence that he received performance-enhancing drugs sometime in 2012. It is possible that Bastardo took human growth hormone, which is detectable only in a blood test. In-season blood testing was not implemented until this season.

According to PITCHf/x data, Bastardo's fastball velocity has declined every season since 2010.

"I don't think anybody in this clubhouse had a clue," Cole Hamels said. "It's frustrating to think that there are people down below who won't get an opportunity because somebody is filling that spot in an illegal way."

Papelbon stumbles

The recent soundtrack to Jonathan Papelbon's appearances at Citizens Bank Park is boos, and Tuesday was no exception. He entered with a four-run lead and allowed back-to-back hits. After two strikeouts, Chicago's Nate Schierholtz lashed a two-run single to center.

The two runs raised his ERA to 2.82, the highest it has been since April. The Phillies won, 9-8, but not without a tense situation.

"He's pitched long enough," Charlie Manuel said. "I'm sure he's been booed before. I don't think he hears too much of that."

Papelbon's 30 pitches were his most in an outing this season.

Halladay's throwing

Roy Halladay could face hitters for the first time since shoulder surgery in a simulated game this week. He threw 75 pitches in an extended bullpen session Monday, one in which he rested five times to mimic rest between innings.

Amaro offered no timetable for Halladay's return, but team officials have long targeted September. The pitcher could begin a minor-league rehab assignment after the simulated game.

Halladay is a free agent at season's end and has expressed a desire to prove his worth.

Status quo for Howard

Ryan Howard, a month removed from knee surgery, has yet to be cleared for hitting. He is rehabbing in Clearwater, Fla. The team had originally estimated he would be out six to eight weeks after the surgery.

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