NEW YORK -- The Phillies opened the second half with two starting position players on the disabled list, and one closer returning from the DL.
So what does that mean for the Phils' trade plans as the July 31 deadline approaches?
Good question, but here's one thing worth remembering: Every year, it seems that manager Charlie Manuel says the Phillies need another hitter. And every year, general manager Ruben Amaro trades for a pitcher.
So even with Ryan Madson returning from the DL, and even with the chance that Jose Contreras may be back, too, it would surprise no one if the Phillies go after someone like Padres closer Heath Bell.
The Phillies have made a midseason trade for a starting pitcher each of the last five years (Jamie Moyer, Kyle Lohse, Joe Blanton, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt), but with Oswalt on the way back from the DL to join Roy Halladay, Lee and Cole Hamels in the rotation, that seems significantly less likely this year.
But don't the pitching-strong Phillies need another bat?
They might, and more specifically they could use a right-handed bat. But Phillies people will remind you that they haven't had their full lineup together very often this year, and that while Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco begin the second half on the DL, neither is expected to be out very long.
Phillies people even suggest that with Madson already back and with Polanco, Victorino and Oswalt soon to follow, they may not need to make any moves. They remind you that money is tight.
History tells you they always make a move.
And history tells you that they usually choose pitchers over hitters.
Polanco, who went on the DL Friday with lower back inflammation, could return as soon as next Wednesday. The Phillies were able to backdate the DL posting by 10 days (to when Polanco last played), and he said Friday that he was able to avoid getting a shot in his back.
"I'm just going to rest it," Polanco said.
Manuel said that Madson won't immediately return to his role as closer. The plan is to use him in the seventh or eighth inning the first time or two. Pitching coach Rich Dubee told reporters that Madson won't be used on back-to-back days, for now.
The Phillies have had three closers hurt this year (Brad Lidge and Jose Contreras, in addition to Madson), but they've had just three blown saves. And only one of those was in the ninth inning (Madson, on June 9).