Notes: Geary demoted, Lopez recalled

Notes: Geary demoted, Lopez recalled

PHILADELPHIA -- Seconds after entering manager Charlie Manuel's office on Saturday afternoon, Geoff Geary knew.

He didn't like it, but he knew.

"I was like, 'Oh man, not again,'" Geary said, after his demotion to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. "I was shocked because usually the Grim Reaper is [bench coach Gary] Varsho. This time, it was [pitching coach Rich] Dubee. I knew something was going on, because I saw a new face that I knew didn't play with us before, and knew he was a pitcher."

That new face was right-hander Aquilino Lopez, who was claimed off waivers earlier this month.

Geary's stay in Scranton will likely be brief, as he expects to return when rosters expand in September. Barring an injury, Manuel agreed.

Saturday's move became necessary simply because the Phils needed a fresh arm, and Geary had tossed 3 1/3 innings over the past two days, including 50 pitches in Friday's loss. Manuel would be in a bind if either Brett Myers or Eude Brito had short outings over the weekend.

"We didn't have much of a choice," Manuel said. "Geary's done a pretty good job for us, and we're very satisfied with him, but we got in a situation where we need a pitcher, and he was the only guy we could send out."

Geary saw the move as performance-based, and felt that he hasn't been as effective since fouling a ball off his face. The stats say he's been roughly the same pitcher, so Geary is probably basing most of his assessment on Friday's rough night.

"My excuse is that I haven't played well," he said. "For me to be angry at their decision -- sometimes you wonder why they do it -- but I can sit there and judge what I've done, and the past three weeks haven't been that productive. I'm leaving balls up -- the slider last night that was hit into the next planet. I personally think it's performance-based."

And that fact that the 28-year-old -- he'll celebrate his 29th birthday in Scranton on Aug. 26 -- has ridden the shuttle between the Majors and Minors for a few seasons doesn't make it any easier.

"I'd like to say yes, but it's the same feeling every time you walk into that office," he said. "Every time I go in that office, I'm mad. You don't want to shake their hand, you're just mad. But it's how the game is. I have options, and that's how it's going to happen with me. My life has never been easy. This is just another wall you have to overcome and obstacle you have to get through.

"It's always disappointing to go down. You're ultimate goal is to stay up here the rest of your life."

Fresh start: It's been one of those years for Lopez, who began the season with the Dodgers, made his only Major League appearance pitching for the Rockies against the Phillies, and now finds himself with Philadelphia.

Yet there he was, sitting in the clubhouse on Saturday.

"It's exciting to be here," he said. "I'm very happy. It's nice to be in games that mean something. It's always better to be in the Majors than the Minors. I just want a chance."

The 30-year-old has bounced around since saving 14 games for the Blue Jays in 2003. He last pitched for Scranton on Aug. 18, so he's ready if needed.

Sept. 1 callups approaching: Though Manuel said the topic of September callups hadn't yet been broached, he doesn't want the clubhouse to be too busy.

"I want some guys, but I don't want a whole lot," Manuel said. "Any time you get players sitting around not being used, I absolutely hate that. Nothing good comes of that."

Assuming Scranton doesn't make the playoffs, the Red Barons' season ends Sept. 2. Some of the players who might be called up include Gavin Floyd, Carlos Ruiz, A.J. Hinch, Geary, Shane Victorino and Chris Roberson.

Of that group, all but Hinch and Victorino are on the 40-man roster.

Manuel likes the thought of Victorino or Roberson providing speed off the bench.

"We could do something with them, because they could help us," Manuel said. "It's great to have guys who can run off the bench. Those situations come into play."

Buried gem: Hidden in the disappointment of Friday's 11-2 loss was arguably one of David Bell's finest defensive plays of the season.

With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the eighth, Ryan Doumit sliced a chopper that Bell grabbed by the line just before the outfield grass. In one motion, he jumped and muscled a throw to Mike Lieberthal, recording the force at the plate.

"That showed me he was in the game," said Manuel. "He was thinking. How he released, he knew that was the only play he had."

Manuel said Bell plays that way regardless of the score.

"That's how you are supposed to play," Manuel said. "Play all nine innings out."

Did you know? The acquisition of Lopez gives the Phillies' bullpen a combined 532 career saves: Billy Wagner (275), Ugueth Urbina (237), Lopez (14), Aaron Fultz (3), Rheal Cormier (2) and Ryan Madson (1). ... Of the active pitchers in the top 10 in career saves, five play or have played for the Phillies. They are: Wagner, Roberto Hernandez, Jose Mesa, Urbina and Todd Jones.

Philling in: Saturday's game was the first of three straight matchups against a left-handed starter. Following Dave Williams, the Phils will face the Bucs' Mark Redman on Sunday and the Giants' Noah Lowry on Monday. Entering Saturday's game, Philadelphia is 20-15 against southpaws this season. ... With their three errors last night, the Phillies dropped to second place in the National League in fielding percentage. ... Members of the 2005 Phantasy Camp were introduced before the game.

Coming up: Brito will be making his Major League debut Sunday against Redman.

Brito was called up Aug. 5, but hasn't appeared in a game. His last appearance came July 30 while pitching for Scranton. He allowed five runs on eight hits in four innings against Rochester.

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