Who's On-Deck For September Call-Ups?

As we edge closer and closer to the first day of September, the question of who will be joining the big league club comes into conversations. Here's an early look at some of the candidates and their chances of moving to Philadelphia.

The traditional mid-August debate is upon us as the Phillies must consider who to call up from their minor league system in their push to overtake Atlanta and solidify their wildcard lead over San Francisco/St. Louis during the final weeks of the season.  When the calendar hits September 1, major league rosters expand from their traditional 25 player limit to a 40 player limit for the balance of the regular season. 

While few, if any teams take advantage of more than 33 or 34 spots, the Phillies have traditionally called up between four and eight players for the season's final month. The Phillies currently have 38 players on their 40 man roster, so the addition of any more than two additional players outside of the 40 will necessitate additional roster moves (most likely transferring Jamie Moyer from the 15 day DL to the 60 day DL, which creates an extra slot).

The Probabilities: The Phillies will call up a backup catcher.  Both Paul Hoover and Dane Sardinha have spent time in Philadelphia this year, with Sardinha having a bit more success in Philadelphia .  However, Sardinha has struggled mightily since the all-star break, hitting just .150 and playing poor defense.  I would expect Hoover to get the call, as he has done during both the 2008 and 2009 campaigns. Hoover will need to be added to the 40 man roster.  Outfielder John Mayberry has been swinging a hot bat as of late, is a member of the 40 man roster, and has the ability to hit for power and has some speed.  Expect to see Mayberry in Philadelphia in two weeks.

Looking at the pitching staff, two names immediately come up, Antonio Bastardo and Scott Mathieson.  Although Bastardo has struggled in Philadelphia during his stint there this year, he has allowed a run in only one of his 18 Triple-A outings and will add a much needed left-handed arm to the bullpen.  J.C. Romero has struggled tremendously, and adding Bastardo will give Charlie Manuel at least another option from the left side.  Mathieson has been very impressive all year (with a couple of late season bumps in the road), throws very hard (97-100 mph) consistently, can pitch multiple innings and his secondary pitches have been thrown with success. He can be used effectively in the middle innings without hesitation. I would also look to Vance Worley to get the call as a potential spot starter/long relief man in the season's final month. Worley, 22, has pitched well for both Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year going 9-6 with a 3.40 ERA over 137.2 innings.  Look for Worley, rather than the struggling Andrew Carpenter to get the call up.

The Possibilities: If Greg Dobbs accepts his assignment to AAA Lehigh Valley , both he and first baseman Andy Tracy are possibilities for call up.  If Dobbs goes, it will be simply because of loyalty by the Phils organization to Dobbs who has had an awful year.  Tracy , 36, just hit his 17th homer of the year in a season in which he has been bothered by shoulder problems and a strained oblique muscle.  Tracy continues to be close to the top of the International League rankings in both walks and on-base and gives you a good at-bat and a great attitude.  Left-handed reliever Mike Zagurski may also see time in Philadelphia . The 27 year-old Zagurski was called up earlier this year and pitched moderately well during his stint in Philadelphia .  After significant struggles when he initially returned to Lehigh Valley , Zagurski, who is on the 40 man roster, seems to have turned it around.

The Long shot: The Phils have shown some tendency to lean towards a "base running specialist" in their call ups during years past.  While there is no true "prospect" with blazing speed at a high level of the minors, Minor league veteran Rich Thompson has stolen 31 bases in 34 attempts this year between Reading and Lehigh Valley. A smart ballplayer with a great attitude, Thompson's abilities on the base paths would be a late inning luxury for the Phils.  Thompson would have to be added to the 40 man roster. 

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