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Lieber to DL; Likely Gone for Season


Jon Lieber could have thrown his last pitch for the Phillies.

A MRI exam yesterday determined that Lieber has ruptured a tendon in the bottom of his right foot. Lieber, who injured the foot Wednesday in Cleveland, will seek a second opinion Monday in Philadelphia, but he has been told that if he does not have surgery he could lose strength in his leg.

Lieber said it would take at least six to eight weeks to potentially recover from the injury without surgery. But then he would need to begin a throwing program, and by the time he built up arm strength the season would be near its conclusion.

The Phillies are not sure who will replace Lieber in the rotation, but it is expected to come from within the organization.

Well, that changes some things. "Within the organization" most likely means J.A. Happ, but the Ottawa lefty is just off the DL himself and has struggled with command all season. They could audition a minor-league vet like former Braves farmhand Bubba Nelson. At Reading, there's just-demoted Zack Segovia, 1-9 at Ottawa but a winner with seven scoreless innings in his R-Phils return; just-promoted Carlos Carrasco, who won his Eastern League debut after easily handling high-A; and Matt Maloney, another lefty who double-jumped from Lakewood and has posted a 2.55 ERA in four June starts.

"Within the organization" also could mean Brett Myers, presumably, but Myers told a questioner last week that there was no way he would return to the rotation in 2007. Perhaps another option is Fabio Castro, who's gone from Reading to Philadelphia to Reading and now to Ottawa, posting 38 strikeouts in 30.2 IP through it all. Castro started in winter ball and was very effective, but he'd take some time to stretch out--and you'd still just have a very inexperienced lefthander.

For now, Lieber's replacement is Clay Condrey, back yet again from the minors. The Phils won't need a fifth starter until Friday, when they play a day-night doubleheader vs. the Mets.