Notes: Abreu hurting, but playing

Notes: Abreu hurting, but playing

MIAMI -- Bobby Abreu sat gingerly in a plastic chair in a far corner of the visitors' clubhouse, clearly favoring his sore left leg. Slowly he shifted his 210-pound frame to converse with teammates lounging nearby, turning his whole body rather than just his head to compensate for the wrap that covered his injured right shoulder.

Abreu is hurting. But it doesn't mean he's coming out of the lineup.

"What can I do?" said Abreu, smiling through his pained expression. "No matter what, I'm going to play. We're in a situation where I'm needed, and I don't want to let my team down. I can't take a day off right now."

Not that Abreu would take a day off, anyway. The right fielder has appeared in all 149 games this season, and started 145 of them, batting either third or fourth. If his shoulder is hurting, as he says, it hasn't affected a swing that's producing at its usual levels.

Abreu is batting around .300, is approaching 100 RBIs and has already produced his seventh straight season of at least 20 homers and 20 stolen bases.

Stealing a base on Sept. 15 is how Abreu hurt his leg in the first place, as the throw bounced up and hit him in back of his left leg, just below his buttocks. He's come out of the past two games, exiting during Saturday's ninth-inning rally, concerned that he might have to score from first on an extra-base hit.

"That might have been tough," he said.

As for the shoulder, that's just sore, and has been for about a week.

As much as Abreu wants to be in the lineup, manager Charlie Manuel wants him there more, and understands Abreu's importance. Manuel is already without Jim Thome, and despite Pat Burrell's outstanding season, Abreu has been a rock all year.

And Abreu isn't the only one putting off a vacation.

"They can rest this winter," said Manuel. "I'll go play golf with some of them. I worry about some of them. I worry about guys like [Chase] Utley and [Ryan] Howard, some of our young guys. Sometimes I'm concerned about Pat Burrell. But they'll play."

90 wins a good season regardless? Manuel had a predictable answer to the question as to whether he'd consider a 90-win season without a playoff appearance a success.

"I want to win," he said. "If we get to 90 and don't [go to the postseason], that means it wasn't good enough. I came here to win. I don't care who we had out. Jim Thome's been out, [Randy] Wolf's been out. But believe me, I don't have any excuses if we win 90 games and fall short."

It would be especially difficult should they lose to the Astros, who beat them in all six meetings this season.

"I think people would always look back and see those six games," said Manuel. "People will say, 'You went 0-6 against Houston, that's why you lost.'

"[Still], I think Houston will run into some teams that will play them tough. ... Anything can happen. That's why you can't get down if you lose a game. You just have to come out the next stay fired up and stay after it for 12 games. Play your [backside] off, and some good things might happen."

Rotation shuffle: Though Manuel didn't say it, it looks as though Eude Brito may be relegated to the bullpen for the remainder of the season, since Monday's off-day allows for rotation adjustments.

Cory Lidle, Brett Myers and Jon Lieber are the scheduled starters for the series with the Braves, and Vicente Padilla will open the series with Cincinnati Reds. Manuel said during an interview with ESPN that he might reset the starters after that.

He backtracked a bit after Sunday's game.

"It's just that I haven't made up my mind yet," he said. "We'll talk about it."

Quick reaction: On Sunday, Gavin Floyd didn't have time to see his life flash before his eyes. All he could see was a baseball screaming toward his head.

The laser from Carlos Delgado got there quickly, and Floyd barely got his glove up in time to snare it for the final out of the seventh inning.

"I didn't see it until the last second," said Floyd. "I'm just glad I put my glove up there. That would have hit me square in the forehead and would have done some serious damage."

After snaring the liner, Floyd calmly walked off the mound and casually adjusted the bill of his cap, which had been sent into disarray.

"You're not really thinking about your bill after that happened," he said. "That is something I won't forget."

'The' inning: The players and Manuel were still talking about "the inning" a day later.

"It's also helped because we've struggled to win here [at Dolphins Stadium]," said Mike Lieberthal. "It was nice."

But that 10-run ninth, the best ninth inning in franchise history, wasn't the team's best overall inning. That would be the fourth inning of an April 13, 2003, game against the Reds, when they scored 13.

The fourth inning seems to be a momentous one for the Phillies, as it's also the frame in which they've given up the most runs. They allowed a 14-spot to the Cubs on Aug. 25, 1922.

Though Saturday's win came against a chief rival at a crucial point, Manuel stopped short of calling it destiny for the Phillies.

"I just try to block things out and stay on an even keel, but when you win games like [Saturday's], that's a good sign," he said. "Those are the things that lift your spirits and keep you fired up."

Hitting streaks: In case you were wondering about where Jimmy Rollins' 24-game hitting streak ranks in team history, he's tied with Willie Montanez (1974) for the second longest in modern history (post-1900), behind Chuck Klein (26, twice in 1930).

The longest streaks pre-1900 were put up by Billy Hamilton (36 in 1894) and Ed Delahanty (31 in 1899).

Coming up: After an off-day, Lidle (11-10, 4.79 ERA) will pitch against Atlanta in the next series of crucial games for the Phillies. Lidle has beaten the Braves twice this season, and has a 3.08 ERA against them.

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