Phils Get Bad News; Shuffle Roster

The Phillies got bad news on a young pitcher, gave bad news to another pitcher and did some roster shuffling to cover an injury.

Scott Mathieson is headed to Los Angeles. No, he hasn't been traded, he's headed for the office of Dr. Lewis Yocum for a second opinion on his right elbow. Team physician Dr. Michael Ciccotti diagnosed Mathieson suggested Tommy John surgery to repair a ligament in the right-hander's elbow. The surgery would cost Mathieson at least a year of pitching.

The second opinion is generally routine in situations like these and Mathieson was advised to seek the second opinion after talking with Randy Wolf and Jon Lieber, who have both undergone Tommy John surgery in the past.

Meanwhile, Brian Mazone looked to make his major league debut Wednesday night against Houston, but is headed back to Rochester to meet up with his Scranton Wilkes-Barre teammates. Mazone would have pitched Wednesday as an emergency starter, but because of Tuesday night's rainout, won't be needed. The 30 year old left-hander was hoping for a shot at the majors this season and had family and friends on alert for the moment. Instead, he'll pitch for the Red Barons in the post-season.

Mazone was disappointed at the turn of events that he never anticipated, but handled it all in stride. "It never crossed my mind," said Mazone about the potential for a rain-out. "It was as far away in my head as getting called up was. It hurts. Obviously it's disappointing, but from where I came to even be in this position is more than I thought (was possible). This is the least of the obstacles I've had to overcome."

Mazone has had an eye-opening season first at Reading and then as a member of the Red Barons. Mazone was 1-3, 2.39 at Reading and then really turned up the heat after being promoted to Scranton, going 13-3 and leading the International League with a 2.03 ERA. Mazone had been scheduled to start Wednesday night for Scranton as they open their IL playoff series at Rochester. It's unclear whether he'll still get the start or whether Gavin Floyd will move up into the spot for Scranton.

Is Lieberthal done?

Say what you will about Mike Lieberthal, but it would be a shame for his Phillies career to have ended this way. Recurring back spasms could force Lieberthal to miss the rest of the season and possibly the playoffs, should the Phillies get there. How ironic would it be if Lieberthal were to have struggled through a long dry spell in Philadelphia only to miss the first playoff opportunity that he would have with the team?

As insurance, the Phillies have purchased the contract of catcher Tim Gradoville from Reading. Gradoville, 26, is a mid-level prospect, at best, and isn't really deemed ready for a spot on the major league roster, but the Phillies want an emergency catcher to put behind Chris Coste and Carlos Ruiz. Gradoville is the closest thing that the Phillies have to fill that role.

To make room for Gradoville on the 40 man roster, outfielder Josh Kroeger was outrighted to AAA Scranton. The Phillies also recalled infielder Danny Sandoval from AA Reading for the rest of the season.

Howard wins it all

Ryan Howard picked up National League Player of the Week Honors and NL Player of the Month honors. Howard hit .348 with 14 homeruns and an astonishing 41 RBI in August to pick up the monthly award. He finished the month with a week that saw him hit .571 (16-for-28) and bang six homeruns and 12 RBI.

After the season, Howard is on a short-list of players who will likely be invited to play on the annual MLB Japanese tour in early November.

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