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Notes: Injured trio closer to returning

Notes: Injured trio closer to returning

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PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies' injured trio of Jon Lieber, Freddy Garcia and Chris Coste continued to head toward their respective returns.

Lieber (strained oblique muscle in his right side) threw 42 pitches in three innings on Wednesday in Clearwater, Fla., in an extended Spring Training game, and will pitch again on Friday. If things progress well, he could join the team on or around Monday for the Mets series.

Garcia (sore right biceps muscle) is scheduled for 45 pitches on Thursday, also in an extended Spring Training game. Assuming there are no problems, he'll throw 65 on Tuesday and be re-evaluated from there. Coste (strained right hamstring) will start playing in games in Clearwater on Saturday.

In Garcia's stead, rookie Zack Segovia will make his Major League debut on Sunday against the Marlins. If another start is needed in Garcia's spot, it could be made by Segovia or Lieber, though at this point, manager Charlie Manuel sees Lieber as a reliever.

"It depends on how quick Freddy can pitch and how quick Lieber can get back," Manuel said. "As of right now, Lieber is in the bullpen. He likes to get the ball and throw it, and is a strike thrower. Coming out of the bullpen, you want a guy who can throw strikes."

Late show appearance: While in New York City next week, Ryan Howard has some interesting plans. On Tuesday, he will appear on The Late Show With David Letterman show.

The Phillies will be in town for a three-game series against the Mets. The 27-year-old, who has a smile as big as his swing, should enjoy the foray into the entertainment injustry.

He's scheduled to be on with actor David Duchovny (The X-Files) and musician Andrew Bird.

Finally: Eleven years later, Phillies fans will get to see one of their own pitch in a Philadelphia uniform.

Adam Eaton always remembers being selected as the 11th overall pick in the 1996 First-Year Player Draft, out of Snohomish High School (Snohomish, Wash.). The right-hander was always considered a top prospect in the Minor Leagues. He won the Paul Owens Award as the best pitcher in the Minors in 1999 and threw a no-hitter in his Double-A debut that same season.

He's best known for being part of the trade with the Padres that landed Andy Ashby, not a good memory for Phillies fans. Eaton debuted with San Diego in 2000, and spent six seasons there being shipped to the Rangers before the '06 season.

This winter, he agreed to return to the Phillies, signing a three-year, $24.5 million contract last November.

"When you get drafted, you assume you're going to get to the big leagues with that team," Eaton said. "At least I did. The day is fast approaching to make that first start for the Phillies."

Eaton missed significant time in his career because of injuries, including Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery and a torn tendon in his right middle finger.

"I saw him pitch three times in Spring Training," Manuel said. "Each game I saw him pitch, he had good stuff. The last two he's had a tough time commanding his breaking ball. His stuff and arm is there. He's got to get command of his pitches."

Quotable: "Right now, I have to give him a chance. Just because he gave up a home run last time doesn't mean I'm going to yank him and you're not going to see him back out there. As a matter of fact, I think the quicker I send him back out there the better off he might be. That's kind of how I always have done it and it's always worked in the past." -- Manuel, on reliever Ryan Madson, who allowed a two-run, 10th-inning homer to Atlanta's Edgar Renteria on Monday

Coming up: In Wednesday's series finale against the Braves, Eaton makes his Phillies debut 11 years after being the 11th pick in the 1996 First-Year Player Draft. The right-hander, who made stops in San Diego and Texas before coming back to Philadelphia, opposes left-hander Chuck James at 3:05 p.m. ET.

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

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