Even on an off day, Phillies-related news abounds.
San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who will helm the National League All-Star team, has named Roy Halladay his starting pitcher, picking him over NL ERA leader Jair Jurrjens. Halladay, an eight-time All-Star, will make his second career start after taking the mound for the American League to open up the 2009 All-Star game. Out of the five Phillies to be named to the ever-expanding NL roster, only Halladay and Cliff Lee are expected to pitch, with Placido Polanco and Shane Victorino being ruled out through injury and Cole Hamels sitting out after starting Sunday’s game.
In other news, the Phillies have promoted P/1B Joe Savery from AA Reading to AAA Lehigh Valley. Savery, a first-round pick in 2007 out of Rice University, was a top-100 prospect going into 2008 as a pitcher, before his struggles in the low minors prompted a move off the mound before this season. In 70 games between high-A Clearwater and Reading, Savery has hit .292 with three home runs, splitting his time between first base, left field, and DH. Meanwhile, since his promotion to Reading, Savery has made six appearances as a pitcher, posting 12 strikeouts without walking a batter and allowing only one run over 10 innings. All this comes after Savery was 1-12 with a 4.66 ERA and a K/BB ratio of only 1.31 with the IronPigs last year. Our Jay Floyd recently wrote about Savery’s on-again-off-again relationship with pitching here.
Finally, the Inquirer‘s Matt Gelb reports that the Phillies are considering trading for Padres closer Heath Bell. Bell’s name has come up in trade rumors ever since Jose Contreras went down, but Bell has been talkative at the All-Star Game media day, saying he could be traded to the Angels, Yankees, Cardinals, Rangers, and Phillies. Bell, 33, inherited the closer role in San Diego from Trevor Hoffman in 2009, and has made three All-Star teams in a row, with a 158 ERA+ and a 1.166 WHIP in that time. Ruben Amaro has said he’d prefer to go after another relief arm before a bat, even with the returns of Ryan Madson, Contreras, and Brad Lidge on the horizon, and a surfeit of young relief arms in the high minors (Justin De Fratus, Phillippe Aumont, Michael Schwimer). Bell, who will be a free agent after the season, is the highest-profile relief pitcher on the trade market.
Speaking of Lidge, he continues his rehab assignment with the Reading Phillies on Monday, striking out two batters in a perfect inning. He told the media afterward that he’s shooting for a July 22 return date to the Phillies.