05/04/10 6:12 PM ET
Madson to miss minimum of eight weeks
Phils righty reliever undergoes surgery on right big toe
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
But successful surgery does not mean a quick return. Philadelphia head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan said Madson will miss a minimum of eight weeks, which means he will not be back until July at the earliest.
"It's a pretty major blow to our bullpen, no question about that," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said at Citizens Bank Park. "Whether it changes what our needs may be or what we'll be looking for, we'll see. We'll see how things pan out. Obviously, this puts guys in different positions to do different things, but we'll have to deal with it."
The Phils' bullpen has a 4.59 ERA, which ranks 10th in the National League. The pitching staff has a 4.26 ERA, which ranks ninth.
"You wish your pitching was a little better, but when you have this kind of injury and you're out two-fifths of your rotation, that makes it tough," said Amaro, referring to injuries that had Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ on the 15-day disabled list. "You can't plan for every injury and we've got a couple of them. It's not an excuse. It's just part of the game.
"Obviously, we're always looking to try to improve our club. It doesn't stop us or necessarily change how we go about it. We have to see how guys react to it, see how guys pitch. We need to be pitching better. It's pretty simple. We need to get healthy."
If the Phillies ultimately decide they must make a trade to improve their pitching, it will be interesting to see how they do it. They traded Cliff Lee to the Mariners in December for three prospects because they said they needed to replenish the farm system. Can they then trade prospects for pitching help before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline?
"We talked about the fact that we didn't have a whole lot of pitching depth and that hurts us," Amaro said. "You can't plan for all the things that happen, but we were short in pitching depth and we're going to have to deal with it."
Amaro said if there were pitchers at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, either in the bullpen or rotation, and they could help the team they would be with the Phils. That means they don't consider Lehigh Valley starters Nate Bump (3-1, 3.00 ERA), Andrew Carpenter (3-2, 4.03 ERA) and Ryan Vogelsong (1-1, 3.46 ERA) an upgrade over right-hander Kyle Kendrick (0-1, 7.61 ERA), who starts Wednesday night against the Cardinals. It also means they don't think Scott Mathieson (1-0, 0.71 ERA, four saves) is an immediate option for the bullpen.
Sheridan said Madson will see Rothman Institute foot and ankle specialist Steven Raikin, who performed the surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, for an evaluation in two weeks. Madson will have the pins removed from his toe in four weeks.
Madson will be non-weight bearing for two weeks, which will make it a challenge for the Phils to keep his arm strong.
So is it eight weeks and back pitching for the Phillies, or eight weeks until he is fully recovered from the injury?
"There are a lot of things to happen in that timeframe," Sheridan said. "Two weeks and four weeks -- when he gets reevaluated we can probably start to be a little more timeframe-oriented, but right, now it's a little hard to say."
Of course, all this happened because Madson kicked a chair in frustration following a blown save April 26 in San Francisco.
Amaro said Madson would not be punished or fined for his actions.
"I think he made a bad decision," Amaro said. "I think he knows it. I think it hurt our club. There's no other way around it. It was a bad decision and we're not happy about it. I don't think he's happy about it, either. But we're human beings, and sometimes we make mistakes. And he made one. It's going to hurt him and it's going to hurt the club."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.