Help Wanted: Prospects On The Way?

Rosters expand to 40 players on Saturday, meaning that the Phillies could add a bunch of players to their active roster. Are there any players who might be able to lend a helping hand down the stretch?

The Phillies 40 man roster has just three position players who are not on the active roster. Catcher Rod Barajas will come off the DL to provide security behind the plate, although Carlos Ruiz and Chris Coste will likely continue to see the majority of time behind the plate, but at least manager Charlie Manuel can hold back Barajas as an emergency catcher and use either Ruiz or Coste as a pinch-hitter in a key position.

Outfielder Chris Roberson is a near lock to return to the Phillies and injured outfielder Michael Bourn should also return before too long. Roberson and Bourn will give the Phillies some speed off the bench, which will be helpful down the stretch. The Phillies used some speed in the ninth inning against the Mets on Thursday and it helped lead to an 11-10 win and a series sweep.

The Phillies have already recalled Kane Davis to hellp the pitching staff. Davis pitched well 303, 3.06 with 4 saves) out of the Lynx bullpen and can at least provide a fresh arm out of the bullpen to save some miles on the "regulars".

Some of the walking wounded should return. Cole Hamels suffered a setback in his recovery and his return is now scheduled for September 10. Yoel Hernandez should return at some point as should Ryan Madson. Madson especially would be a huge addition to the back end of the bullpen. Scott Mathieson will also come off the disabled list in his comeback from Tommy John surgery and will join the Phillies bullpen, but it's going to be hit and miss on just how much help he'll be able to provide and how much the Phillies will want to push him. Geoff Geary is pretty much of a lock to return to the Phillies once rosters expand.

Julio Mateo, who the Phillies acquired from the Seattle Mariners at the trade deadline, may get an opportunity to join the club. Mateo had three saves in four opportunities with Double-A Reading and posted a 3.00 ERA in ten games. His combined minor league numbers between pitching at Triple-A Tacoma and Double-A Reading were impressive at 4-1 with 15 saves and a 1.46 ERA. Then again, Mateo is scheduled for a September 4 court date on domestic abuse charges.

The Phillies don't have much in the way of veteran pitchers on the 40 man roster that they can look to for help. A left-hander with at least some Major League experience could help and the Phillies have that in Fabio Castro. Another left-hander, J.A. Happ isn't likely to get a recall to Philadelphia. Right-handers Joe Bisenius and Anderson Garcia are possibilities, but not very likely.

If they can clear a spot or two on the 40 man roster, the Phillies might have another name or two to add to the mix and here's where it gets interesting.

Right-hander John Ennis had a cup of coffee with the Phillies and could be back for another sip. Gary Knotts would be an interesting addition, since he has some Major League experience and he pitched well at both Reading and Ottawa. In his two stops, Knotts had a combined ERA of 1.85 with three complete games, including two complete game shutouts. Phenoms Carlos Carrasco, Patrick Overholt and Josh Outman aren't likely to get calls. Zack Segovia started the season with the Phillies, but after a disappointing season, he's not likely to get a call this September. Third baseman Mike Costanzo, who put up strong numbers for Double-A Reading also isn't likely to get a call.

As for surprise position players the Phillies can look to, the most interesting name is Gary Burnham. The left-handed hitting veteran minor leaguer is a Chris Coste clone who deserves an eventual shot at playing in the majors. Burnham hit .297 with 12 home runs for Ottawa this season, but it's unlikely that he's going to get his shot this September with the Phillies.

The most help is likely to come from the disabled list as players return to action. Their returns though will come with question marks as the Phillies look to find out just how healthy they are and how much they may be able to help down the stretch.

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