09/30/09 11:12 PM ET
Myers cleared to return; Ruiz in lineup
Number of unanswered questions regarding Phils 'pen
By David Gurian-Peck / MLB.com
But with the Philllies right-hander -- who has not pitched since Sept. 12 because of a strained muscle below his right shoulder -- itching to return, the club decided to push back the workout and clear him for game duty instead.
"I got on my hands and knees and begged," Myers said. "Seriously. What's one extra day, you know?"
"He's done very well with his bullpens," team physician Michael Ciccotti said. "He has no discomfort in the posterior aspect of his shoulder, where he had his strain. So he's fully available."
Catcher Carlos Ruiz also returned to the lineup Wednesday. He has been plagued by a strained left wrist and was a late scratch Tuesday, but said that he does not feel any pain.
Myers' availability, though, is particularly important. The Phillies have only five games to develop a bullpen plan for the playoffs. And if healthy, Myers will play a major role. He was the team's closer in 2007 and, after returning from hip surgery earlier this month, had emerged as a reliable setup man before his shoulder flared up.
"We got a lot of decisions to make on our bullpen," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I don't think we're in a position to make them right now. I know we're not."
Will five games be enough time?
"It's going to have to be enough," Manuel said.
Right-hander Chan Ho Park, sidelined with a strained right hamstring, threw without pain on Wednesday. Pitching coach Rich Dubee said that Park could pitch in an instructional league game on Thursday in Florida, and Ciccotti said that "he should be back very quickly."
Left-handed specialist Scott Eyre, who had been cleared by team doctors to pitch without any limitations even though he has a loose body in his lefty elbow, allowed no baserunners while recording two outs in the ninth inning Wednesday. He had not pitched since Sept. 7 because of a loose body in his left elbow.
And lefty J.C. Romero remains unable to work back-to-back games, although Ciccotti said that could change within the next week. Romero allowed two hits in a scoreless inning Monday -- his first action since he strained his forearm in mid-July -- and is available again Wednesday.
Myers, too, does not foresee pitching on consecutive days.
There's also the question of how to deploy J.A. Happ. The 26-year-old lefty is 12-4 with a 2.85 ERA but could be moved to the bullpen in October to compensate for his teammates' injuries and struggles.
At some point, Philadelphia will have to decide on his role.
"It's getting there," Manuel said. "But the day ain't today."
So there are plenty of moving parts heading into the season's final days. And to make an accurate assessment, Manuel needs to see many of those parts take the mound.
"If we're going to have Myers, Romero, guys like that [in the postseason], we have to pitch them first," Manuel said. "We got to get them some work."
David Gurian-Peck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.