According to sources cited by the Daily News, Aaron Rowand will miss at least 5 weeks with a broken ankle following an outfield collision in last night’s game. His absence leaves the Phillies scrambling for bats.
It’s not ideal, but the Phils can survive without Rowand in the starting lineup the rest of the season. Shane Victorino has proven to be a competent fill-in. We can also rest easy knowing none of our franchise players runs the risk of getting spiked in the face.
But now the Phillies face a serious dilemma. David Dellucci, better in a platoon role and nursing a nagging injury, will be forced into everyday play. Same for Victorino. Beneath their starting nine, where Chris Roberson, who’s just 5-for-28 (.179), is now the first option off the pine. The Phils have played with a short deck for weeks because they’re carrying a 13th pitcher. But with an injury to Rowand, and the recent retroactive trip to the DL for closer Tom Gordon, the Phillies have a wide open shot to look for creative ways to add bench help, and the moves could get a little goofy. The immediate answer may not be as easy as recalling speedy outfielder Michael Bourn, who’s headed to Cuba for Olympic qualifying.
All the options at Triple-A Scranton would appear to be a reach. They could be forced into inserting a career minor-league lifer like 35-year-old outfielder Pedro Swann, who’s hitting like crazy since he was signed from the independent leagues earlier this season. Bobby Scales would be a versatile addition; he can play infield and reportedly the outfield corners. Carlos Ruiz would figure to stay put in Scranton until rosters are expanded next week.
Swann and Scales would need to have their contracts purchased to be included on the 40-man roster. Luckily, the Phils have two slots available, even after Saturday’s addition of Jamie Moyer.
The Phils could conceivably bring up two hitters since Gordon went on the DL, or they could add another pitcher, likely Clay Condrey, who’s already on the 40-man. Scott Mathieson could also make an early return.
It’s not out of the question that they scour bats of all varieties from outside the organization. A number of bats recently fell out of baseball, like Vinny Castilla and Tony Batista, both right-handed, but probably washed up. Ruben Sierra is out there. Richard Hidalgo is out there. B.J. Surhoff might be out there, and was talked about during the pre-seasons. Sammy Sosa is somewhere. Nothing more than extreme longshots who are either cooked or nearly cooked.
They may also scour the waiver wire for older outfielders on teams who fell out of the race. Kansas City’s Reggie Sanders is a name often mentioned, and has proven experience in playoff races. Sanders is having a down year, but has heated up lately. Of all the options mentioned here, Sanders would seem to be the best fit. For an acquisition to happen, he would need to pass through waivers, which is not out of the question.
We'll know more as the day progresses.