Final Decisions Loom For Playoff Roster

The Phillies still have a little time to decide on who makes their post-season roster, but it looks like there are just two open spots. In some ways, it's a case of veterans versus youth.

Slowly but surely, the Phillies' postseason roster is taking shape.

Before Monday's game in Atlanta, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. eliminated five names from playoff roster consideration. Outfielder Domonic Brown and relievers Joe Savery and Justin De Fratus will leave for Clearwater, Florida, when the regular season ends to take part in Florida Instructional League play, to stay sharp in case of an injury on the major league roster. Meanwhile, reliever Michael Schwimer and outfielder Brandon Moss will go home when the regular season ends.

What remains on the current roster leaves two spots open for the postseason roster; the last spot on the bench and in the bullpen.

Contending for the bench spot are infielder reserves Michael Martinez, Pete Orr and outfielder/first baseman John Bowker. In the bullpen, veteran starter Joe Blanton and second-year reliever David Herndon are likely the two pitchers vying for one spot.

Martinez is the odds-on favorite for the bench job. The 28-year-old was on the major league roster all season as a Rule 5 pick and is the most versatile of the trio. Martinez can play shortstop, second, third base and some outfield; he's also a switch hitter.

The decision for the bullpen spot is not as cut and dried. Herndon has been in the bullpen for all but a few weeks of the season - he was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley for a short time in May.

Since returning, Herndon has a 1.99 ERA in 33 games. He has 35 strikeouts and 16 walks in 45 1/3 innings, and opponents have hit .240 with a .703 OPS against him.

Blanton, who will start the season finale for the Phillies, began the season in the rotation but was sidelined for 3 1/2 months by an elbow injury before being activated earlier this month. The initial results out of the bullpen have been promising for Blanton; He has a 1.80 ERA with seven strikeouts and no walks in four relief appearances this month.

"I like Blanton," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Actually, I like kind of like where he's at right now, as far as what he's been through."

The five-time National League East champions will begin their goal of reaching their third World Series in four seasons when they play host to Game One of the National League Division Series on Saturday.


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