Back from their West Coast swing, the Phillies could use this homecoming to make some changes.
As several small fissures have started to show in the facade, the Phillies could reach for the caulking gun. In right-handers Danys Baez, Kyle Kendrick, Michael Stutes and David Herndon, the Phillies hold several redundant parts: middle relievers who should be expected to chew up more than an inning. By keeping Herndon on the 25-man roster all season in 2010, the Phils earned the right to option him just as they can with other prospects. It may be time to take advantage of that.
Herndon, who was the last man to make the Opening Day roster, has had lousy command, allowing 12 hits and six walks in 9 2-3 innings. A demotion would make sense, but there is no clear answer down in the minors, unless the Phillies decide to pull someone out of the starting rotation. Vance Worley may be the most qualified for Bigs right now, but the Phils are keeping him stretched out as a starter and he's pitched quite well for Lehigh Valley (2-2, 2.78 ERA, 25/6 K/BB). Eddie Bonine, who was a reliever last season with Detroit, has added a cutter to his repertoire, taught to him by Cliff Lee this spring, and has pitched to good results in the IronPigs' rotation. Reclemation project Jason Grilli has also been effective in relief as he tries to make it back to the Show.
A roster move may be forthcoming anyway. Carlos Ruiz could go on the disabled list, which means that Dane Sardinha, Erik Kratz, or even Double-A veteran Tuffy Gosewisch, could be summoned from the minors. Kratz, who appeared in a few games with the Pirates and was a Triple-A All-Star last season, is hitting .370/.500/.778 with three homers in 33 plate appearances with the Pigs, splitting time with Sardinha, who has not been hitting (.088/.225/.118). However, Sardinha filled in admirably for the Phils in 2010, starting nine games for the big club and belting a couple of homers in the process. It may boil down to which receiver the Phils' pitchers feel most comfortable. Gosewisch has a reputation for being a good handler, and his bat has improved (he homered twice yesterday), so I'll throw his name into the ring.
As for the rest of the bench, I'm guessing they're fine with Pete Orr, John Mayberry and Michael Martinez, but you never know.