Gillick Deems Phils a Definite Buyer

After a 4-3 West Coast trip, including three wins in a row in San Diego, the Phillies return home and could have Brett Myers back by the weekend. With all of that good news, GM Pat Gillick is ready to do some shopping.

After watching the Phillies post a 4-3 record last week on a West Coast trip, general manager Pat Gillick said he considers himself a "buyer" at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

He also credited manager Charlie Manuel for keeping the team in contention.

"Right now, we're in it," Gillick told the Wilmington News Journal by phone from Clearwater, Fla. "It's really a tribute to Charlie and the coaching staff and the players. We've been operating four guys short in the pitching area, and we've held in there. Hopefully, within the next week, we can do something to tweak it a little bit."

The Phillies are 50-48, five games behind the division-leading New York Mets and 1 1/2 behind the second-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East. They're also only 3-1/2 games behind the San Diego Padres in the NL wild-card race.

Gillick said the Phillies will continue to search for pitching help, even though rookie right-handers Kyle Kendrick and J.D. Durbin have, at least temporarily, stabilized the back of the rotation.

Kendrick, who starts Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series against the Washington Nationals, has won four of seven starts since being called up from Class AA Reading, while Durbin got his first major-league victory last week in Los Angeles and threw his first complete-game shutout Sunday in San Diego.

"Kyle's kept us in six, seven games, and the wins we had last week, to say Durbin would've had two of the four wins, people would've said you're crazy," Gillick said. "They've pitched well. At the same time, one of the areas we're still looking in is the pitching area, and we're still trying to improve the team as much as possible."

Help is coming from within as well. Brett Myers allowed one hit and struck out three in 1 1/3 innings Monday night for Class A Clearwater and may be activated as early as Friday. Gillick said Myers would make a third -- and likely last -- rehab appearance Wednesday night for Clearwater. "We want to give him one day in between to see how he reacts," Gillick said. "If he's OK, then it'll be Friday." In two rehab appearances with the Threshers, Myers has thrown 2 1/3 innings, giving up one hit, one walk and striking out three. Myers, the Phillies' closer, has been sidelined since May 23 with a strained right shoulder.

Gillick said he doesn't anticipate many trades being made until a few days before the deadline.

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