It's quite possible this is the final time a number of Philadelphia Phillies will be in the home dugout at Citizens Bank Park.
Sunday's matchup with the Arizona Diamondbacks is the Phillies' last home game before the non-waiver trade deadline, and they've long been expected to be shipping out some high-priced veterans.
Philadelphia fans may have seen Cliff Lee pitch in a Phillies uniform for the last time Saturday, when many scouts were on hand to see him in a 10-6, 10-inning loss. Fellow starter A.J. Burnett also has been rumored to be on the trading block along with closer Jonathan Papelbon.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told MLB's official website Friday that he expects moves to be made by the July 31 deadline.
"That's the goal. I think so," Amaro admitted. "As I said before I think we'll be active, but we'll see."
There was some talk Ryan Howard could be headed elsewhere despite his exorbitant contract because the Phillies (45-59) might be willing to eat much of that salary. He was benched for three games before playing Saturday, notching his third straight multihit game, but he has one homer in his last 29 while batting .121 with runners in scoring position.
"Going forward, what I would want is for him to be a force in there and help us win games and be a guy chipping in and playing a part in us winning games," said manager Ryne Sandberg, whose club has lost eight of 11.
Howard could return to the bench Sunday because Arizona is starting left-hander Vidal Nuno. Sandberg is considering platooning Howard at first base with righty-hitting Darin Ruf, who was starting this week in place of the left-handed slugger.
Arizona (45-59) also may try to shed salary before the deadline, having already done so this month by sending Brandon McCarthy to the Yankees for Nuno (0-1, 3.78 ERA).
The Diamondbacks haven't greeted him well, providing four total runs of support in Nuno's three starts - all losses. He pitched seven scoreless innings in his Arizona debut but has since been tagged for seven runs and 13 hits, including three homers, in 9 2-3 innings.
The only Phillies player Nuno has faced is Marlon Byrd, who has a homer in two at-bats against him and hit his team-leading 20th home run Saturday.
Martin Prado carried Arizona's offense as he went 3 for 4 with a homer, five RBIs and the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the 10th. He's hit .452 with 10 RBIs in his last seven games at Philadelphia.
"He works hard all the time and sometimes he's too hard on himself," manager Kirk Gibson said. "He believes the harder he works, the better he is."
Prado and Paul Goldschmidt, though, are each 1 for 7 against Phillies starter Roberto Hernandez (4-8, 4.25). The right-hander has split two career outings against Arizona.
Hernandez is 0-5 in his last seven home starts despite a respectable 3.67 ERA. He left with a two-run lead at home Tuesday against San Francisco, yielding three runs in 5 2-3 innings, but the Phillies lost 9-6 in 14.
Philadelphia is looking to win a series at home for the first time since a three-game sweep of San Diego from June 10-12.
Arizona's Aaron Hill is riding a 10-game hitting streak, but Gibson said he likely won't start because of a bruised right hand from being hit by a pitch Saturday.
- Sports & Recreation
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Arizona Diamondbacks