The Phillies aren't certain who will start in Lieber's place Saturday. They purchased the contract of right-hander Brian Sanches from Triple-A to take his place on the roster, but Sanches has been a reliever for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre all season.
Left-hander Cole Hamels is eligible to come off the DL that day, but even though his strained shoulder seems to have been a false alarm, general manager Pat Gillick said that Hamels still will make a rehab start Thursday at Class A Lakewood and return to the Phillies' rotation sometime next week.
"He says that he feels fine and he looked like he was throwing fine," Gillick said after Hamels pitched a couple of innings in a simulated game Monday afternoon.
The only question that remains is who he will replace in the rotation. One thing is certain: Floyd is on notice.
Floyd's 6.62 ERA is among the highest in the NL for starting pitchers, and the only reason he is 4-2 is that his offense has supplied him with a generous 5.9 runs per start. In Floyd's last three starts - all no-decisions - the Phillies lost all three despite scoring 21 runs in those games. Floyd allowed 16 earned runs over 14 2/3 innings in those starts.
Hamels' Thursday rehab start puts him on the same pitching schedule as Floyd. When Gillick was asked if Hamels might replace Floyd in the rotation, he said, "Possibly. (Hamels) will be ready to pitch. It's up to the pitching coach and the manager to decide."
That, however, came before Lieber's injury. So Floyd might have seen an injury buy him yet a little more time.
RECAP: For the second consecutive game, a home run by first baseman Ryan Howard broke the game open. Monday night, his three-run bomb in the sixth inning snapped a tie and sent the Phillies storming to an 11-2 win over the Nationals, their most lopsided victory of the season.
Clay Condrey got the win, pitching four innings of relief after starting pitcher Jon Lieber left the game in the second inning with a strained groin. Condrey allowed one unearned run in his longest relief stint of the year.
The Phillies broke the game open with five runs in the seventh inning, a rally in which Pat Burrell and David Bell each connected on two-run singles. Jimmy Rollins (single, double, walk) scored three runs as the Phils won back-to-back games for the first time since their 13-1 run at the start of the month.
NEWS and NOTES
THE NUMBERS GAME - 1: Number of combined RBI for Carlos Ruiz and Sal Fasano since Mike Lieberthal went on the disabled list three weeks ago. They combined to hit .209 in 19 games.
HE SAID WHAT? "He has an attitude of being a guy you can count on when you need a win. He has shown that he wants to be a guy you can count on. He's an ace. You're going to have to beat him." - Tom Gordon, on Brett Myers.