Manuel Happy With Back End Of Rotation

With the decision to keep Ryan Madson and Gavin Floyd to fill out the back end of his rotation, manager Charlie Manuel feels his team is set for 2006. He also thinks the move solidifies both the rotation and the bullpen.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee were given clearance by general manager Pat Gillick to arrange their pitching staff the way they saw fit.

With the choice in their hands, Manuel and Dubee decided to go with youth in the back end of their rotation. They appointed right-handers Ryan Madson and Gavin Floyd the numbers four and five starters, while moving veteran right-hander Ryan Franklin into the bullpen, where he'll have an opportunity to hold leads in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

Franklin (2-1, 3.57 ERA) had a good spring as a starter, but Madson (2-0, 1.89) and Floyd (4-0, 2.08) were electric and kept getting better as the spring progressed. Madson held opposing hitters to a .188 average, and Floyd has given up just two runs in his last three starts.

"I always thought of Madson as a starter," Manuel said. "And Floyd has grown up since last year."

Last year Floyd came unraveled when he was taken out of the Phillies' rotation after two starts. He imploded in the Phils' bullpen and never really recovered in Triple-A either, where he had a 6.16 ERA. Floyd, however, had an epiphany a few starts ago and has been showing why the Phils selected him with the fourth overall pick in the 2001 draft.

"He earned it," Manuel said of Floyd. "He's getting a chance. He can get the crap kicked out of him, and he'll get another chance. He'll keep getting a chance until I decide he doesn't."

"I like strong arms. I like good stuff. I think he's ready to pitch in the big leagues."

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