The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that veteran Jon Lieber could miss three weeks to a month with a strained left groin. Lieber was placed on the DL following Monday’s game against Washington.
Though the 36-year-old right-hander had been struggling, going 3-5 with a 5.79 ERA, the injury proves untimely because the Phillies may have been thinking about nudging Gavin Floyd from the rotation. Floyd (4-2, 6.62 ERA) is sinking fast, giving up five or six runs in his last three starts. Because of Lieber’s injury, Floyd may be given more opportunities to work it out.
Ryan Madson figures to have another shot at proving himself as a starter. Madson (5-3, 5.79 ERA) starts Friday’s game and appeared to be locked in a dead heat with Floyd to keep a spot once Cole Hamels returned from injury, but Lieber's setback may have given them both a boost. Madson has outpitched Floyd in recent appearances, but Madson’s usefulness in the bullpen could have had him re-ticketed for relief.
Eude Brito will be given a spot start in Saturday's game, taking Lieber’s turn in the rotation. Brito was 5-2 with a 3.06 ERA in 10 starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 27-year-old left-hander did a serviceable job last season in 5 spot starts, going 1-2 with a 3.68 ERA. As I recall, his best pitch is a slider.
The Phils begin a tough four-game series tonight in Los Angeles. The Dodgers are playing well and will match Derek Lowe, Jae Seo, Brad Penny and Aaron Sele against the Phillies' patchwork staff.
Lieber’s extended stint on the DL could have the Phillies eyeing another solution. Daily News columnist Bill Conlin asked the Phillies to think outside the box this morning, calling for the team to jumpstart the future by promoting either Zach Segovia (3-1, 3.00 ERA, 4 GS) or Gio Gonzalez (2-4, 2.56 ERA, 69 SO, 10 GS) from Double-A Reading.
With speculation the Phillies, Marlins and Yankees are working on a three-way deal that would land Dontrelle Willis in Philadelphia, Pat Gillick addressed the matter yesterday on Comcast. Gillick said a deal at this stage wouldn’t be wise for the rebulding Marlins, who can only demand more for the 24-year-old hurler closer to the trade deadline.
In one rumored deal, the Phils would send either Pat Burrell or Bobby Abreu to the Yankees for prospects and Aaron Small. The Phillies would flip those prospects and a few of their own to the Marlins for Willis.