"Well," Sandberg said, "we need a closer that can go three games in a row and close three games. No question about that."
It would have been a footnote, of course, had Antonio Bastardo saved what turned out to be a 5-4 loss to New York, or if the Phillies had better bullpen alternatives than Roberto Hernandez, who threw 99 pitches Friday and tried to save Sunday's game.
Those are flaws that will not be cured overnight.
Papelbon, meanwhile, said he harbored no regrets. He threw 21 pitches in the two games before Sunday's.
"I play through a lot of soreness," he said.
Papelbon said he felt better Tuesday, and he blamed the turf at Toronto's Rogers Centre as a possible cause for his body's soreness.
"I wasn't comfortable with throwing," Papelbon said. "I felt like it could create more injury. Instead of missing 30 or 40 or 50 games, I decided it would be best for my team and my career to maybe sit one out."
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he was fine with that explanation. Amaro and Sandberg said there is nothing the team must monitor.
Can Papelbon, the game's highest-paid reliever, pitch on three consecutive days in the future?
"I sure hope so," Sandberg said. "That's his job."
At the end of spring training, the Phillies emphasized defense in the formation of their bench, and that is why they discarded Kevin Frandsen. But they exchanged Reid Brignac and Cesar Hernandez for Freddy Galvis and Jayson Nix in recent days, moves designed to add offense to a lackluster unit.
Nix opted for free agency, declining an assignment to triple A.
"We didn't feel comfortable with the mix," Amaro said. "We'll make changes to try to make it better."
Frandsen bashed a game-winning homer Monday for Washington. He has a .700 OPS in extended time for the Nationals. The league average is .704. Amaro does not lament the loss of Frandsen.
"Not at all," Amaro said. "No."
Galvis fractured his left collarbone in his second game at triple-A Lehigh Valley. Amaro said doctors will perform surgery and insert a plate into Galvis' shoulder. The infielder will miss months.
"It's going to be a while," Amaro said.
Roberto Hernandez will be skipped in the starting rotation and will not start again until May 23, which will allow him to be used in the bullpen.
Both Kyle Kendrick and Cole Hamels will start with an extra day's rest, Friday and Saturday, respectively. Cliff Lee will pitch Sunday on his regular turn.