Notes: Myers continues progression

Notes: Myers continues progression

PHILADELPHIA -- Long toss Thursday. Off a mound Friday.

That's the short-term timetable for Phillies righty Brett Myers over the next two days, as the closer continues to progress from a strained right shoulder. After a week of playing catch, Myers threw from a mound Tuesday, but has yet to cut it loose.

While the specifics are unimportant, the key is that Myers won't be ready to come off the disabled list by Monday, his personal target date.

"It just took me a while to start throwing, before they wanted me to throw," Myers said. "It's weird. I've felt better since I've started throwing."

Myers said he was having some tightness in an area away from the muscle he strained on May 23, but isn't concerned.

"It's not painful," Myers said. "It's just not in the spot that's strained. It's further down my arm. It's a process, I guess."

Beyond Friday, Myers said he hopes to have a side session on Sunday, where he'll likely put some mustard behind his throws. General manager Pat Gillick said he expects Myers to return near the end of the month.

Though not on the mound, Myers will help raise money for four-year-old Juliana Wetmore, who was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, a birth defect that left 40 percent of her facial bones missing. She has had 20 surgeries, and is still disfigured and has difficulty seeing, hearing, breathing and eating.

To help pay for her medical costs, Myers will sign autographs on Saturday from 2-3:30 p.m. ET at the Majestic Clubhouse Store (near the third-base gate). He'll sign one for a $15 donation and two for a $20 donation. Pre-registration is recommended by calling (215) 463-1000 or by visiting the Citizens Bank Park ticket windows. Monetary donations are also being accepted.

Myers has also pledged $20,000 this season to help Juliana and her family, who live in his hometown of Jacksonville, Fla. Brett's mother, Jan Myers, has organized fundraising efforts that have raised more than $50,000 the previous three years.

Garcia update: Righty Freddy Garcia visited noted shoulder specialist Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday, and the Phillies are waiting word on the surgeon's findings.

Told by the Phillies medical staff that surgery was a "last resort," Garcia opted for a second opinion. If surgery is an recommended, the pitcher could miss anywhere from a month to the rest of the season.

An MRI performed Monday showed "pathology" (irregularities) of the labrum and fraying of the rotator cuff. A free agent after the season, Garcia wants to get 100 percent healthy. At this point, Garcia appears to be leaning toward surgery, while the team would prefer he opt for rehab.

"We're optimistic he can pitch [this season]," Gillick said.

Garcia tried rest and rehab after straining his right bicep tendon in late March, and it didn't help. Andrews' recommendation may not be made public until Thursday.

"[Dr. Andrews] is the best, and I want to see the best," Garcia said Tuesday.

Helms goes deep, finally: The exhale likely came from Wes Helms, who allowed himself to jog around the bases for the first time this season.

Brought in to provide power, Helms took White Sox starter Jon Danks deep in the second inning, and didn't hear a word from teammates when he returned to the dugout.

"When I crossed home and gave Rod [Barajas] a high five, he said 'Welcome to the club,' then they gave me the silent treatment in the dugout," Helms said. "Someone yelled, 'Way to get off that donut.' That's what keeps the game fun. It was a long time coming."

Helms' previous homer came Sept. 24, 2006, in Philadelphia, when he homered off Jamie Moyer, while with the Marlins. He credited something pointed out to him by manager Charlie Manuel.

"He mentioned something to me two or three days ago," Helms said. "We watched some video from last year in Florida, and he saw I was getting under the ball more instead of on top of it. We worked on a few things in the cage. Hopefully, what he saw will help me."

AA automatic: Antonio Alfonseca keeps people in stitches with his antics on and off the field, but his pitching has held the Phillies' bullpen together.

Alfonseca has five saves since new closer Brett Myers joined regular closer Tom Gordon on the disabled list, and hasn't allowed an earned run his previous nine outings.

He engaged in some unintentional comedy in the ninth inning on Wednesday. Aggravated after a leadoff walk, Alfonseca flung his hand in the air and sent his glove flying. The players converged to reassure Alfonseca, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound reliever gave the home-plate umpire a friendly pat on the behind.

"There was no problem," he said. "I got [sweaty], and the glove come off. I said [to home-plate umpire Adrian Johnson] I was sorry, it was my fault."

Philling in: Shane Victorino stole his 20th base of the season in the first inning. ... Jim Thome made his first plate appearance in Philadelphia since being dealt to the White Sox after the 2005 season. He received a rousing ovation and tipped his cap to the crowd.

Nothing intentional: Despite being hit twice by former teammate Jose Contreras on Tuesday, Aaron Rowand doesn't suspect foul play.

"He called to apologize after the second time, and he didn't have to," Rowand said. "He was struggling to find his spots and he didn't have his control. He's a wonderful guy. There's no way he was trying to hit me on purpose, and I knew that before he apologized."

Ribbing: When Rowand swung and missed at a Tim Wakefield knuckleball that ended up striking him in the arm, he knew his cell phone would be buzzing with text messages.

One of the first ones he saw after that Spring Training at-bat came from Mark Buehrle. It read, simply: "Good job."

"Anybody I know that looks bad like that, or has a lowlight like that, he's going to hear about it," Buehrle said. "The way [Rowand] plays, things like that are going to happen."

Rowand would expect no less from his former teammate and close friend, and would do the same thing if the situation were reversed. In fact, he has.

"Phone calls and text messages, sure," Rowand said. "We watch highlights, and if they look dumb striking out or hitting a home run, guys will call and leave messages. The other day, Paulie [Paul Konerko] fell on his face in Toronto [running from first to third]. I let him know what I thought about that."

Minor news: Lefty Matt Smith, who had been trying to rediscover his control at Triple-A Ottawa, was placed on the disabled list with left elbow inflammation. ... Righty Zack Segovia, one of the candidates to replace Freddy Garcia, fell to 1-8 for the Lynx. He gave up seven runs in five innings in a loss to Triple-A Pawtucket. ... Outfielder Mike Spidale was promoted to Double-A Reading from Clearwater. ... Righty Kyle Drabek, who was activated from the disabled list earlier this week, is scheduled to start for Class A Lakewood on Wednesday.

Coming up: After a day off on Thursday, the Phillies host the defending AL champion Tigers for three games. Jon Lieber, who starts on Friday against Jeremy Bonderman at 7:05 p.m. ET, is coming off his best performance of the season, a three-hit shutout of the Royals on June 9. He struck out 11, one shy of his career high. It was his 25th career complete game and his fifth shutout.

Lieber had allowed 10 runs and 23 hits over 11 2/3 innings in losses to the D-backs and Giants in his previous two starts before dominating the Royals.

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