The price of Mike MacDougal, Akinori Otsuka and Scott Linebrink just got a little higher, as 39-year-old closer Tom Gordon will meet with team doctor Michael Ciccotti in Philadelphia.
Straight-shooting assistant GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told the Philadelphia Daily News "It's just a tuneup, to check him out. Nothing major."
The Phillies, who’ve yet to fortify the back of their bullpen with a viable alternative in case Gordon goes down, are reportedly in the market for a veteran set-up man who could also fill the role of emergency closer. The White Sox, Rangers and Padres have been mentioned as possible trade partners.
Beerleaguer: The Phillies brass will try to spin this as a routine exam, but get real. Everyone knows they're more than a little concerned with Gordon – those rumblings started before the end of last season. Back-end relief remains the most critical situation the team faces, and it's been that way since the Wild Card race.
It also appears the Phils have discovered that a $7.5 million fifth starter won't get them very far. Lately, one can't read the name Jon Lieber without Aaron Rowand attached. A reported 20 scouts watched as Rowand played all 10 innings today. Word is out the Phils need relief. Here come the jackals. So much for leverage.
Today's game: Adam Eaton and Antonio Alfonseca are both scheduled to pitch when in St. Petersburg in a game against the Devil Rays (1:05 p.m. EST).
Transactions: Outfielder Chris Roberson, Anderson Garcia and Brian Mazone were among 14 players optioned to minor league camp. Roberson is a mild shock for having been cut so early, but was generally considered behind Karim Garcia, Greg Dobbs and Chris Coste for the final spot off the bench. It appears Michael Bourn has officially leapfrogged Roberson in the depth charts. Garcia, a waiver claim, is no great surprise either and will likely return to Ottawa, where he's seen time before. And Beerleaguer favorite son Mazone just can't stick, and will instead line up at the very top of Ottawa's rotation.