The ever-evolving lineup will be without Jayson Werth this afternoon as Joe Blanton (3-6, 6.03) and the Phillies reach for the brooms against Jason Hammel (7-5, 4.23) and the breathless Rockies. First pitch is 1:05.
Notes: There is reportedly no subtext with Werth sitting; it’s just a routine day off, according to reports. Ross Gload, part of an improving bench, starts in right and hits fifth. Placido Polanco mans second once again with Greg Dobbs starting at third, keeping with the recent trend of getting “heftier” lumber into the lineup. Wilson Valdez has not started in three games, suggesting that Charlie Manuel has concluded that the light-hitting utilityman has been overexposed. … On the trade front, ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the Astros seek "a young, front-line player off the big-league roster, two high-end prospects and one more prospect" for Roy Oswalt. Stark was a guest on yesterday’s Phillies postgame show and wondered if J.A. Happ, who is 27, controllable and has experienced proven success, was too great a sacrifice for Oswalt. Stark also reminded viewers of the Phillies’ possible pursuit of Ty Wigginton and Miguel Tejada, noting that the Orioles are typically very slow to make deals. Looking at Tejada's numbers (.272/.311/.368, 7 HR), one wonders if he could be acquired at a minimal cost.
Minor league signings: The Phillies recently acquired a couple of independent league All-Star relievers: right-hander Joe Esposito of the Long Island Ducks and left-hander Derrick Loop from across the river in Camden. Esposito, 25, spent three seasons in the Orioles system before he was released at the end of 2010 spring training. He has been assigned to Lakewood. Loop spent last season with Double-A Portland (Red Sox). He has been added to Clearwater. The Phils also signed right-hander Mike McGuire from the Can-Am league.