Even though he's pitching well this spring - 1.50 ERA in six innings of work - Lieber was picked to start the year as the newest Phillies' reliever. Maybe it's the fact that he is pitching so well that has Lieber miffed at the assignment. "I'm disappointed," Lieber said. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't. I think I can still start. That was my mind frame this off-season, to better myself. I signed here to be a starter." Lieber's days as a Phillies starter were numbered when the Phillies traded for Freddy Garcia and signed Adam Eaton as a free agent. The plan was to trade one of their starters, but that hasn't happened, at least not yet. "It's either 29 teams don't like me, or they're asking too much," said Lieber about the lack of a trade.
There was some consideration to move Eaton to the bullpen, but in the end, manager Charlie Manuel thought moving Lieber was the better choice. "He has pitched well [this spring]. It was a real tough decision," said Manuel. Lieber last pitched in relief in 1996, with the exception of one game in relief in both 1997 and 1998. "He's been a starter for 11 years. Let's see how he reacts, how it works out," explained Manuel.