Evidently Friday is the Phils' day of choice to banish their failed fifth starters back to the minor leagues. A week after calling up Eude Brito when Gavin Floyd was shipped out, the team returned the 27 year-old lefty to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, recalling OF Chris Roberson.
I have a two questions here, which evidently will go unanswered at least until the news hits phillies.com or the local papers: who, if anybody takes Brito's rotation spot? And why Roberson, who was awful in his first stint with the club (1-13, .077) rather than catcher Carlos Ruiz, who could sub for still-ailing Mike Lieberthal; an infielder like Brennan King or Joe Thurston; or another reliever?
Some totally uninformed speculation after the jump...
Rotation: the Phils actually don't need to use a fifth starter again until June 17, and then not again until July 1. By then, Jon Lieber might be ready to come off the DL, and maybe even Randy Wolf. For the 6/17 game, against Tampa Bay, Clay Condrey could start, with Ryan Franklin set for a long relief stint if necessary; it doesn't seem like the Phils are warm to my idea of giving Reading ace Scott Mathieson a one-start cameo to begin his big-league career.
Roberson: I'm worried that this indicates concern about Pat Burrell's health. Manuel has been spotting David Dellucci in the lineup more of late, which isn't bad in and of itself--you could make an argument that Dellucci should always play somewhere against righties--but as we've already seen a few times this season, it hurts the club when Burrell isn't around for late-game at-bats.
I guess another possibility is that the team is more seriously pondering trade talks--with the White Sox for Rowand back, the Yankees for Abreu or Burrell, or some putative deal we don't yet know about--but that just doesn't make sense to me. The club is playing fairly well, and the OFs are a big part of that. Occam's razor suggests that it's Burrell's foot.