DENVER -- The Phillies began their series against the Rockies 14 games back in the National League East, their largest division deficit since August 2006.With the July 31 Trade Deadline approaching, the pressure is on manager Charlie Manuel to prove the Phillies shouldn't become sellers. "We definitely need to win some games, that's what I hear," Manuel said before Friday's game. "But the way I look at it, we've got to win games all the time. But that would help." The Phillies are 10 games back in the National League Wild Card standings, which isn't insurmountable to Manuel. "I've seen us be 10 or 11 down in the loss column and we've gotten back in the race," he said. "We've just got to start outplaying people."
Teams calling about Polanco's availability
PHILADELPHIA -- Teams are calling the Phillies about their players, but it does not sound like they are ready to sell quite yet.
A source on Friday said the Orioles recently spoke with the Phillies, asking about the availability of third baseman Placido Polanco. The Phillies told the Orioles they would be looking for a top prospect or two, which sounds like a steep price for the 36-year-old, although right now it would mean Ty Wigginton and Mike Fontenot would play third base the remainder of the season.
The asking price for Polanco could drop if the Phillies struggle after the All-Star break. They are 37-50, 14 games behind the first-place Nationals in the National League East and 10 games out of the Wild Card.
Polanco is hitting .266 with 14 doubles, two home runs, 18 RBIs and a .653 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, but after a poor start to the season he is hitting .285 with a .707 OPS since April 24. Polanco has won a Gold Glove at second base and third base, so he could play either position for the Orioles.
Polanco is making $6.25 million this season, and has a $5.5 million club option with a $1 million buyout for 2013. He can be a productive player when healthy, but he has been on the disabled list three times the previous two seasons and has missed time this season because of an injured wrist and ankle.
Orioles second baseman Robert Andino has hit .182 with a .514 OPS since May 4.
Halladay on track for Tuesday start in LA
DENVER -- Roy Halladay made his first rehab start Thursday night for Class A Clearwater, giving up three hits and one unearned run while striking out four in three innings (61 pitches). Halladay, who has been on the disabled list with a right lat strain since May 28, is in Denver for Philadelphia's weekend series against the Rockies. Manager Charlie Manuel said the right-hander is still on track to return to the Majors on Tuesday against the Dodgers."It looks like [Tuesday]," Manuel said. "He felt like he did good [Thursday night], that he threw well." With Halladay (4-5, 3.98 ERA this season) back in the fold, Manuel expects the Phillies to start making up some ground in the National League East race. "That'll help our rotation," he said. "And if we can get [Chase] Utley and [Ryan] Howard to start hitting like they can, that's going to help our whole lineup, plus that's going to create more energy, life and want-to. We'll win more games, there's no reason why things won't work out for us. And we'll give it everything we've got."
Left-handed pitcher Raul Valdes was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right hip strain Friday, the Phillies announced. Left-handed pitcher Joe Savery was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to fill his spot. Utility player Laynce Nix went 1-for-2 with a two-run homer, two walks and a strikeout Friday in his second game of a rehab assignment at Class A Clearwater. Nix has been on the disabled list since May 11 with a left calf strain. The Phillies are 32-29 all-time at Coors Field.