Floyd's big spring lands him No. 5 slot

Floyd in rotation, one of Ryans going to 'pen

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The picture that shifts one of the two Ryans from the rotation to the bullpen came into sharper focus on Wednesday, when the Phillies eliminated three pitchers from the competition.

Philadelphia optioned Robinson Tejeda and Eude Brito to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and released Ricardo Rodriguez. All three were vying to be the final available job on the pitching staff.

The moves leave 12 healthy pitchers in camp -- just the amount manager Charlie Manuel plans to take north -- including spring phenom Gavin Floyd. The talented right-hander put his 2005 ills firmly in the rearview mirror and likely showed he belongs in the Major Leagues. His performance convinced many in the organization that he's ready to live up to the potential of a former No. 4 overall draft pick.

"He's had a good spring," said general manager Pat Gillick. "Coming into Spring Training, I didn't have any expectations for him, because he didn't have a good 2005 season, and didn't pitch particularly well in Puerto Rico. He exceeded my expectations, because he wasn't a guy who would've even been considered for somewhere in the pitching staff."

Barring a trade or sudden change of heart, Floyd has seized the No. 5 starter slot, since the Phillies have no intention of using him in the bullpen. That sets off a chain reaction where one of the Ryans -- Madson or Franklin -- moves to the pen. Both have had success in relief, though Madson's came more recently, as in the previous two seasons in Philadelphia's bullpen.

While Franklin's last significant relief stint came in 2002, the veteran is 8-1 with a 3.83 ERA in his career as a reliever.

Conventional wisdom suggested that Madson hit the 'pen, but two team sources indicated that Franklin is the choice because the team believes he can play a vital role in relief, much as Madson did.

No official announcement has been made regarding Floyd, Madson or Franklin, though the math suggests this scenario. A trade at this point, is unlikely.

"We knew there was an outside chance that might happen," said Jay Franklin, Ryan's brother and agent. "If it happens, Ryan is prepared to do whatever it takes to help the Phillies win."

Franklin, who didn't make the trip to Dunedin and wasn't available for comment, told his brother/agent that winning was the most important reason for his coming to Philadelphia, especially after enduring two seasons of 90-plus losses with the Mariners.

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With relieving a possibility during offseason talks, Jay Franklin negotiated some incentive clauses in which his brother can earn an additional $250,000 incrementally, topping out at 75 appearances -- though that's less than the $1.1 million he could've have earned by logging 220 innings.

Assuming the Phils go in this direction, Franklin will fill the seventh-inning role that Madson handled the past two seasons. In discussing the bullpen option, Franklin stressed that he wanted a significant later-inning role, especially considering that he pitched well as a starter in Spring Training.

Gillick said the final decisions will be up to Manuel.

"I want to win, and whatever the manager and the pitching coach think it takes, we'll go in that direction," Gillick said.

The manager remained coy.

"We're not talking," said Manuel, who on Tuesday stated he had made up his mind, but didn't want to reveal anything.

The team's transactions Wednesday may have done the revealing.

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