Ed Wade on Floyd: "He's in the right place"

With Vicente Padilla shelved for longer than the Phillies expected and the Phillies facing 20 games in 20 days, the decision on a fifth starter needs to be made. Whenever pitching is mentioned in Philadelphia, thoughts turn to Gavin Floyd and predictions of his major league debut. Phillies GM Ed Wade seems to have slowed the enthusiasm though with comments on Floyd.

You have to believe that the Phillies are at least tinkering with the idea of bringing pitching prospect Gavin Floyd to the majors. In what is perhaps the biggest sign yet that the thought is at least there, Ed Wade dispatched Ruben Amaro, Jr and Dallas Green to Reading to watch Floyd pitch this past Sunday.

"They were pleased with what they saw, but they agreed that he's in the right place," Wade told The Philadelphia Inquirer. What they saw consisted of Floyd going six innings, allowing nine hits and two earned runs. Floyd also walked one and struck out four in Sunday's game.

The Phillies have insisted that bringing Floyd to the majors is not their first option. They believe that their 2001 first round draft pick needs a little more time to develop. "We'd love to have him develop at what we consider the proper pace, but at this point, I'm not closing any doors," Wade said.

With Padilla on the DL since May 30 and likely to stay there for at least a while longer, the Phillies will need a fifth starter. With Padilla and Wolf on the DL, their spots in the order have been hit and miss. In the seven games that they've missed, the Phillies have gone 2-5 using Josh Hancock, Ryan Madson, Paul Abbott and Brian Powell as replacements. The good news is that Wolf should return to the rotation Sunday in Boston.

It's interesting to note that Floyd is pitching on basically the same days that Padilla's spot in the rotation would come up. Floyd's next start for Reading is scheduled for Friday, the same day that the Phillies need a starter for their series opener with the Red Sox.

It's likely that the Phillies will go with either Abbott or Powell for Friday's start. Abbott was impressive in his first Phillies start, but struggled his last time out. Powell struggled in his first start, but turned it around to beat Kansas City in his last start this past Sunday. Abbott is 0-1, 4.00 in his two starts. Powell is 1-1, 3.86 in two starts and a relief appearance this season for the Phillies.

Floyd is 3-4, 2.39 at AA Reading this season.

From all that the Phillies have said about Floyd, it appears that he will stay in the minors at least a while longer. But with Ed Wade admitting that he's not closing any doors, Floyd's major league debut may not be as far off as it appeared not long ago. It's possible that the Phillies will wait for the results of an MRI and bone scan on Padilla to see if they need a long-term replacement or just need to fill one or two more starts. If they're going to bring Floyd to the majors, they may prefer to do it in more of a long-term situation rather than a once and done scenario.

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