PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Howard said he absolutely should have caught the ball that bounced past him in the eighth inning Wednesday. It contributed to a big inning in a 9-4 loss to the Brewers.
"I took my eye off it a little bit and tried to make a play to go home," he said. "The first rule of thumb is to make the play first before you go home. It just came off a little quick trying to make the move. It was an error. I had it. I had a clear play on it."
Howard does not seem to be stretching for balls as much at first base as he had in the past, although he said he is not limited defensively following two seasons of injuries to his left leg.
"Not at all," he said.
But Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said Howard is "slightly restricted on getting full athletic position, really getting down low where a guy would want to be, he is restricted to some extent there. Even last year, with the bum knee, he was fine as far as picking balls and receiving balls and actually throwing to the bases. So like I said, it's continued work and practice. I see him improving."
Pettibone gets nod as fifth starter
PHILADELPHIA -- The moment Triple-A Lehigh Valley right-hander David Buchanan threw 93 pitches Tuesday it became clear right-hander Jonathan Pettibone would be the Phillies' starter Saturday against the Marlins.
The Phillies on Thursday announced Pettibone will be their fifth starter until Cole Hamels finishes rehab from inflammation in his left shoulder.
Hamels could be back as early as April 22, which means Pettibone could make just two starts.
Buchanan had an excellent spring, but he is not on the 40-man roster, which came under consideration as the Phillies evaluated their options.
"I guess that's part of the decision, but not really all of the decision," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "Pettibone also earned an opportunity to pitch with us. He got hurt (last year). He was still fairly effective and he was still learning but we think he's got a strong future as a starter for us. As long as we felt he was aggressive and healthy he was probably the number one candidate going in anyway."
The Phillies will need to make room on the 25-man roster for Pettibone, which means one relief pitcher will be moved. Closer Jonathan Papelbon and left-handers Antonio Bastardo, Jake Diekman and Mario Hollands seem safe, which means the Phillies are likely to choose from right-handers Brad Lincoln, Justin De Fratus, B.J. Rosenberg and Jeff Manship. Lincoln and Manship are out of options.
"It's part of the decision making process, but we're going to try to do what's right for the club," said Amaro, when asked if options could come into play. "We still have flexibility, but we'll see. We'll make a decision sometime before the game on Saturday."
Galvis, Adams on verge of returning from DL
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies could have infielder Freddy Galvis back Friday and right-hander Mike Adams back as early as Monday.
Both opened the season on the disabled list. Galvis is recovering from an infection in his left knee, while Adams is recovering from right shoulder surgery. Adams is scheduled to pitch Saturday with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Their imminent returns mean the Phillies have roster decisions to make. They actually have three, with Triple-A right-hander Jonathan Pettibone getting the call to start Saturday against the Marlins.
Two relievers and one infielder will have to be moved to make room for them.
Closer Jonathan Papelbon and left-handers Antonio Bastardo, Jake Diekman and Mario Hollands seem safe, which means the Phillies are likely to choose from right-handers Brad Lincoln, Justin De Fratus, B.J. Rosenberg and Jeff Manship. Lincoln has pitched primarily in mop-up duty, although he is out of options. Manship also is out of options.
"None of the guys have pitched so well that they can't be considered for a guy to be sent out," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "That's the bottom line. We're evaluating all the guys and we'll make a decision. A lot of things can happen between now and Saturday, too. We'll hold our powder until we know what the right decision is."
The Phillies currently have infielders Cesar Hernandez and Jayson Nix on the roster, but Hernandez might be better served playing every day in Triple-A.
"We'll make that decision when we have to make that roster decision," Amaro said. "Ryno [manager Ryne Sandberg] likes the versatility of all of these guys. Freddy obviously gives him even more versatility because he can play the outfield as well. There's always that balance between whether a young player is going to get the opportunity to play enough, or that he'll not play enough. There's a lot of different moving parts. One of the things we do have is some versatility there, so we'll try to make the right decision on it."
• Right-hander Ethan Martin will be a reliever when he returns to the mound. He is on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. He is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session Friday in Clearwater, Fla.
"We've made that kind of organizational decision, that that's probably the best route for him at this stage," Amaro said. "He probably has the chance to be a much more dominant bullpen guy than he would as a starter. So we'll see how it goes. I think he's happy about it and ready to go."
• Outfielder/first baseman Darin Ruf is on the disabled list with a strained left oblique. He has not started baseball activities, but Amaro said they could begin soon.
• Right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is on the DL with right shoulder tendinitis. He is throwing from 100 feet.
"Still working on some of his mechanics and it's getting better and better," Amaro said. "He's feeling good."
• Double-A right-hander Ken Giles has struck out nine batters in 3 1/3 innings while hitting 100 mph on the radar gun.
"It's great," Amaro said. "One of the good things we're seeing is he's starting to develop some command, more constant command, down in the zone with his fastball. It's not just that he's throwing 100 mph, but where he's throwing it."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.