PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have a limit to their payroll, which means they need some of their young pitchers to fill voids in the bullpen in the near future.
They think Bruce Sutter can help.
The Phillies announced Monday they have hired Sutter, the Hall of Fame closer, to work as a Minor League pitching consultant for the final few weeks of the 2010 season. He will work with pitchers from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and Double-A Reading.
"He has a tremendous amount of experience and success," Phillies assistant general manager Chuck LaMar said. "We have a group of young arms that need to continue to work on their secondary stuff.
"Anytime you can get somebody of Bruce's expertise and experience to help take a look -- and maybe make a suggestion or two that we haven't thought about on getting these young relievers over the top. We're really pleased to have him see our pitchers the next three weeks."
That group includes relievers like Scott Mathieson, Mike Zagurski, Michael Stutues, Michael Schwimer, Justin De Fratus and Christopher Kissock. Vance Worley and J.C. Ramirez currently are starters, but could see themselves in the Phillies' bullpen in the future. Sutter could introduce them to the splitter, which he mastered in his career.
"We need them in short order to go from prospects to Major League pitchers," LaMar said. "Anytime you can bring in a Hall of Famer to take a look at these guys to make sure we're headed in the right direction with all of them ... it sure doesn't hurt to have somebody from the outside take a look. Sometimes you can't see the forest through the trees."
Return to Philadelphia strange for Happ
PHILADELPHIA -- J.A. Happ looked strange Monday wearing the brick red colors of the Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park.
It still looks a little strange to Happ, too.
Happ, who the Phillies traded to Houston on July 29 as part of the Roy Oswalt trade, returned to Citizens Bank Park for the first time as a visitor.
"This park has a home smell to me," Happ said. "You'd come off the road, come here, and it's like, 'Ah, home.' It's good -- I like it. It'll be strange smelling that only a few times a year. But, yeah, it's strange seeing familiar faces, but being in a different clubhouse on the other side. It'll be interesting. Hopefully, it'll be fun."
Happ, who is 2-2 with a 4.62 ERA in five starts with the Astros, faces Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay on Wednesday.
"I've certainly thought about it," Happ said. "We know it's going to be a packed house, because it always is. That's going to be great. I don't know. I'm going to do my best to try to control those emotions. It's going to be more strange when I'm in here not pitching. When I'm out there, I'm trying to get guys out. When I'm in here and I see familiar guys walk up to hit, it's going to be weird."
It has been a long year for Happ. He suffered an elbow injury in April, and he needed until July to return. When he came back, he got traded.
He basically has been living out of a suitcase the entire season.
"It's been a trying year for me, but I'm getting more comfortable," Happ said. "We're going to hopefully try to build something similar to these guys."
Few familiar faces for Oswalt on Astros
PHILADELPHIA -- Roy Oswalt spent 10 seasons with the Houston Astros, but most of the people he knew well in the organization are long gone.
In fact, since the Astros traded Oswalt and Lance Berkman in the past month, Wandy Rodriguez is the only player remaining from their 2005 National League championship team.
"Lance is gone. Carlos [Lee] and Wandy have been there a few years," Oswalt said. "Other than that, most everybody has been there only a year."
It does not sound like Oswalt is expecting too many emotional moments this week, with the Phillies hosting the Astros for four games at Citizens Bank Park. Maybe that will come next season, when the Phillies visit the Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Polanco out with soreness in left elbow
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he held Placido Polanco from Monday's lineup because of a "little soreness in his [left] elbow."
Polanco spent time on the 15-day disabled list this season because of inflammation in the elbow. Manuel said Polanco, who entered Monday ranked third in the National League in batting (.318), should be OK to play Tuesday against the Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park.
"I don't want to make a big deal out of it," Manuel said. "Every now and then when he swings or check swings ... he'll feel something in his elbow. Or when he dives for a ball or something like that. He's all right."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.