Notes: Wagner stands by his words

Notes: Wagner stands by his words

PHILADELPHIA -- To know Billy Wagner is to realize that he'll never back down from a challenge.

So it wasn't surprising to hear the outspoken closer reiterating his belief that the Phillies had "no chance" to make the playoffs unless they stopped taking a carefree approach to winning and losing.

"I didn't say anything but the truth," said Wagner. "Accountability is a big thing. I don't think it's a big issue. If anybody is fool enough to sit here and think we're a playoff team with the way we're playing right now, they're crazy. It doesn't have anything to do with us not working hard and playing hard, we're just not getting it done. We're not a playoff team now."

Wagner was speaking from the heart, not as a player who wants out. A free agent at the end of the year, he could be dealt if the Phillies fall out of the race. But he sees a talented clubhouse, which is what makes this season more frustrating.

Things have gone especially sour for the Phillies during a 4-11 skid that erased the momentum generated from a 12-1 start to June.

"It could have been a big month for us, but we let it slip away," said Wagner. "We didn't take advantage of things, and it showed. Now we're playing for our lives instead of beating on somebody else. We fell apart. We weren't going to take the lead away from Washington, but at least you could create some separation from Atlanta and Florida. Now we're at the bottom."

Wagner thought the team lost some of its intensity during the past few weeks and has to find ways to win games.

General manager Ed Wade had no problem with Wagner's comments.

"I didn't take exception to his remarks at all," said Wade. "I thought it was a guy stepping up as a veteran player and stating his opinion, and recognizing that we have to play better. I want guys to care, absolutely. I think it's important that everybody associated take responsibility and care about what's happening every single game."

Wolf's surgery a success: Randy Wolf had reconstructive surgery on his left elbow in Los Angeles on Monday, and soon will begin the long process of returning to the Major Leagues.

Dr. Lewis Yocum performed the procedure and will conduct a followup exam on July 11. Wolf is scheduled to start rehabbing on July 19.

Optimistically, Wolf could return by late July 2006. The important thing is for him to remain patient.

Philling in: Tim Worrell is still on schedule to return to active duty on July 4, in Pittsburgh. He had another rehabilitation outing on Thursday for Double-A Reading.

Coming up: June wasn't kind to Saturday's starter, Brett Myers (5-4, 3.18 ERA), as the right-hander went 1-1 with a 6.18 ERA. He was brilliant in April and May, so his overall numbers are still quite good. His issue recently has been a lack of aggressiveness in going after hitters. He will be opposed by Atlanta's Horacio Ramirez.

Ken Mandel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.