The Phillies' roster will balloon to 26 bodies today when outfielder Nate Schierholtz (big toe) becomes the first official September call-up. The Phils and Braves continue their series at 4:05.
Beerleaguer: Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com believes Triple-A reliever Justin De Fratus and Double-A home run king Darin Ruf, who broke Ryan Howard's single season home run mark with his 38th shot Thursday, will eventually join the Phils when their minor league seasons conclude. The Phils have an opening on their 40-man roster for 'Babe Ruf,' who belted a record-breaking 20 home runs in August.
In terms of timing, the IronPigs are down three games in the Wild Card race, with three remaining, so their season will likely end Monday. Ruf and the R-Phils have a magic number of two to qualify for the postseason with three games remaining.
Meanwhile, the Phils did not pull the trigger on a last-minute deal as the waiver trade deadline came and went Friday at midnight. Nevertheless, the Phils, who've played like a contender of late, continue to gain valuable knowledge in a number of areas. They'd much rather round out their 2013 roster cheaply and internally rather than rely on older, expensive, free agent retreads. Catcher Erik Kratz, a hero in Friday's 8-5 win, appears to be a viable option at this point. Kevin Frandsen has shown he can handle himself in the Majors. The Phils have also seen life in John Mayberry's bat; the club could go a number of directions in the outfield, with as many as three openings to fill, either through platoons or a full-time free agent, like Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Melky Cabrera or someone else. Needless to say, the Phils have much to consider.
Speaking of internal options, the Phils are grooming a pair of managerial prospects in Triple-A skipper Ryne Sandberg and Reading boss Dusty Wathan. Sandberg, who has made the most of a bad and depleted IronPigs roster, will be part of a Major League coaching staff, either here or elsewhere, next season. Wathan, a former journeyman catcher, seems to win wherever he goes and could continue his climb with an opportunity at Triple-A. Charlie Manuel's contract expires after next season.