PHILADELPHIA - Finding out after the Phillies' 3-0 win over the Chicago White Sox Monday night that pitcher Freddy Garcia's right shoulder woes could be worse than feared didn't seem to phase manager Charlie Manuel.
Perhaps that's a quiet indication of just how concerned the team is with Garcia's shoulder.
The would-be stopper who has failed to awaken radar guns all season long and was shelled in his last couple of outings before being placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday underwent an MRI at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Monday which "revealed pathology in his labrum and some fraying of the rotator cuff."
Now, that doesn't sound good. After the game, Garcia said he didn't know how bad the injury was, but planned to seek a second opinion. General manager Pat Gillick and assistant G.M. Ruben Amaro were both unavailable for comment, while Manuel said, "I don't know how bad it is ... seems like there can be different diagnoses of injuries nowadays."
For his part, pitching coach Rich Dubee wasn't about to offer a diagnosis on Garcia, informing everyone that he "isn't a doctor."
But Dubee did say that Garcia had told him he'd felt pain there last season, too. "He needed to get an MRI and needed to know what's going on," Dubee said. "This gives him a base for that."
But it also leaves the Phillies with a huge hole in their rotation, which also doesn't sound so good considering the shaky status of the hobbling bullpen.
For now, the Phillies will fill Garcia's slot Wednesday night with Kyle Kendrick, all of 22 years old and sporting a losing record this season at Class AA Reading. The 6-4 righthander spent last season in A-ball at Lakewood and Clearwater, and is now 4-7 with a 3.21 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 811/3 innings for Reading.
Asked if he thought Kendrick could be more than just a stopgap solution, Manuel said, "It's kind of like playing it by ear and see how he does. I like this kid, though. He has a chance to do a pretty good job."
But there is much to dislike about the Phillies pitching staff, especially now that Garcia, with a report from Monday's doctor visit still pending, is on the outs. Apparently, the manager hasn't had many optimistic talks with management about finding other ways to fill those pitching staff holes.
"We have talent, but we have to do better," Manuel said a day after the lowly Kansas City Royals had pasted his Phils, 17-5. "But if you have holes and can't fill them, how you gonna get better?"
Apparently not by signing Jose Mesa.
Perhaps he's only 41. But he earned his release this season by Detroit for posting a 12.34 ERA in 16 appearances this season. Then, in a 11/3-inning stint for the Phils Sunday, Mesa gave up a hit, walk and two earned runs via two wild pitches.
Maybe Manuel's quiet concern about the pitching will soon start to be vented ... in the G.M.'s office, perhaps?
"I wish we didn't have to go looking for pitching, but at the same time, that's kind of like the way it is," Manuel said. "We know our problems. Anytime Pat Gillick can help us to get somebody that's going to help us, then he's going to go do that. Sometimes, that's harder to do than what people think it is."
Asked if Garcia's injury would make him re-think the closer's role he gave to former starter Brett Myers, Manuel said, "Right now, it doesn't." But Manuel admitted "it's a possibility" that Myers might have to return to the rotation should the Phils continue to be put in a bind, although Myers has requested not be bounced between roles.