PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon said Tuesday afternoon that he was available to pitch, if needed.
He had told Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg on Sunday morning at Citi Field that he could not pitch because of soreness in his neck and back. The bullpen proceeded to blow a three-run lead in the ninth inning and eventually the game, which dropped the Phillies to 17-19.
Papelbon initially blamed his unavailability Sunday on the fact he warmed up a few times before entering games Friday and Saturday, which raised a few eyebrows inside the clubhouse. As a result, Cole Hamels threw a career-high 133 pitches, Roberto Hernandez pitched in relief after throwing 99 pitches in a start Friday and the Phillies lost an opportunity to pull back to .500.
Papelbon said he had no regrets and that he had pitched with soreness before, adding that this was different.
"It's just basically a soreness that I wasn't comfortable throwing," he said Tuesday. "I felt like it could create more injury. Instead of missing 30 or 40 or 50 games, I decided it would be best for my team and my career to maybe sit one out."
Papelbon warmed up twice Friday before entering the game and picking up a save in a 3-2 victory in 11 innings. He warmed up once Saturday before entering the game and earning his 11th save in a 5-4 victory.
Is that an excessive amount of warm-ups?
"It was not excessive," Sandberg said. "Nobody ever, they don't complain about being up and down in a situation like that when it's extra innings. Not when you're talking ninth inning and it goes to 11, you could be up twice. That could happen tonight very easily. There's a way to go about that where it's not straining."
"No, that's just the norm," Papelbon said.
Paplebon said Tuesday he may have started to feel bad last week in Toronto because of the artificial turf there, though the position players played under the same conditions for nine innings.
The good news for the Phillies was that Hamels said he felt fine after throwing 133 pitches and said an extra day of rest before his next start should benefit him.
Asked if teammates were OK with Papelbon's unavailability Sunday and explanation, Hamels said: "We're fine with him. He's probably one of the best teammates you could have. I think it's hard for people to see that and understand that unless they actually play the game and are with them. He wants to pitch. Every once in a while stuff happens, and your body reacts a certain way some days and you don't know why. You need a day off to not stress it. We know him pretty well. We know his character. He wants to pitch. He wants to close games."
But going forward, is Papelbon a player who can go three consecutive days?
"I sure hope so," Sandberg said. "That's his job."
C. Hernandez called up as Phils' bench thins
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies' bench got thinner in the past week, with Freddy Galvis going down with a fractured left clavicle and Jayson Nix being outrighted from the 40-man roster.
Galvis was sent to Triple-A on Thursday after struggling offensively with the Phillies, and he was injured on Sunday. It was unclear how long he would be sidelined, but Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said it could take "a while."
"I do not know yet," Amaro said before Tuesday night's game against the Angels. "He did see our doctors at Rothman Institute. They are going to have to operate on him and put some kind of plate in there. So it's going to be a ways; it's going to be a long time unfortunately."
The Phillies recalled infielder/outfielder Cesar Hernandez from Triple-A on Tuesday to take Nix's spot on the active roster. Utility infielder Reid Brignac replaced Galvis on the roster on Friday.
Phillies management stressed defense and versatility with the infield when finalizing their Opening Day roster, which meant parting ways with infielder/outfielder Kevin Frandsen at the end of Spring Training. Amaro said he had no regrets about that decision.
"No, not at all," Amaro said. "Because there is a reason why we decided to part with him. We have our reasons. We'll go from there."
Nix, who essentially replaced Frandsen, was acquired in a trade with the Rays on March 28. Nix hit .154 in 18 games with the Phillies before being outrighted on Monday. He elected to take his free agency on Tuesday.
"We're just trying to improve our club," Amaro said. "My job is to do what I can to improve the club. If guys aren't doing their jobs ... the key is trying to replace them with someone who you think will be better. People talk about, 'Well, let's get rid of this guy.' But you also have to replace him with someone who will actually be able to do that."
Phils shuffle rotation; R. Hernandez skipped
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies plan to use their coming off-days to give extra rest between starts to their top four starters and skip Roberto Hernandez in the rotation, manager Ryne Sandberg said on Tuesday.
The Phillies are off on Thursday and Monday. Kyle Kendrick will start Friday's series opener against the Reds, and Cole Hamels will get the ball Saturday, both on five days' rest.
Cliff Lee and A.J. Burnett will each get an extra day between starts next week. Lee, who started Tuesday night against the Angels, is slated to start Sunday against the Reds and May 24 against the Dodgers on five days' rest. Burnett will start Wendesday and have five days before his May 20 start in Miami.
Hernandez will be available out of the bullpen this week, and his next start is scheduled for the series opener against the Dodgers on May 23. The right-hander was skipped in the rotation earlier this month when the Phillies had a similar scenario with their schedule. Hernandez has made two relief appearances this year, including Sunday against the Mets, when he blew a save in the ninth inning two days after making 99 pitches in a start.
Sandberg said Sunday's workload was not a factor in the club's decision to skip Hernandez in the rotation.
"He'll be in the bullpen probably up until the 19th or the 20th," Sandberg said. "It had nothing to do with Sunday; that was his side day. He just falls into the category of the fifth-starter scenario. He's been a versatile guy, and he just kind of goes with that role of being the fifth starter."
Former Phil Ibanez returns to Citizens Bank
PHILADELPHIA -- Mike Trout, who grew up in South New Jersey, was not the only Angels outfielder making a homecoming of sorts on Tuesday. Raul Ibanez was back at Citizens Bank Park for the first time since leaving the Phillies at the end of the 2011 season, and the veteran recalled some of his fondest memories with the Phils as he sat in the visiting dugout.
Ibanez, who played three seasons in Philadelphia, from 2009-11, said the ballpark and the city would "always hold a really special place in my heart." Ibanez had a breakout season in '09, earning his first All-Star selection and helping the Phillies reach the World Series.
"It was three of the greatest years of my career as far as teams go," Ibanez said. "It was a really special time. I'll never forget the crowd reactions to us winning. Just coming to the ballpark every day, no matter what you were going through individually, it was always so much fun to be a part of that team. It was just a really special group of players. A lot of fun."
The Phillies went to the postseason in each of Ibanez's three seasons with the club. Naturally, that 2009 run to the World Series and eventual loss to the Yankees stood out in his mind.
"We were going to the World Series, and it felt like it was never going to stop," Ibanez said. "And then of course coming to the abrupt stop at the end. It went from being the greatest feeling ever in professional sports to the worst feeling ever, sitting there and being so close to the World Series that you could touch it. ... I remember how hard that was to stomach for the next couple months."
Ibanez, 41, has since gone on to play for the Yankees, the Mariners and the Angels. He said he kept up with the Phillies, acknowledging it had been hard to watch former teammates Chase Utley and Ryan Howard struggle with injuries in recent years.
"I've always stayed pulling for those guys because they are special guys, great people, and you never want to see you friends go through rough times," Ibanez said. "I wish them the best."
• Darin Ruf continues to rehab with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but Sandberg said the Phillies were in no rush to activate the first baseman/outfielder. He began the season on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left oblique.
"I think a guy in his case, he'll show when he's ready, and whenever that might be, I don't think there's any rush," Sandberg said. "He'll dictate and he'll be looked at when people think he's ready to compete at this level."
Ruf played in his second rehab game with the IronPigs on Tuesday. He previously appeared in three games with Class-A Advanced Clearwater.
• Sandberg said he had been recovering from food poisoning since Sunday, adding that it may have come from a burger he ate in the clubhouse at Citi Field in New York. The manager estimated that he had lost six pounds.
"A couple of coaches took a bite, and then they threw it away, they looked at it, but I was rushing so I ate the whole thing," the manager said.