DENVER -- Chris Coste is too realistic to get ahead of himself. He knows his latest big-league stint may end once Jayson Werth's strained left wrist heals. Then again? "I know there's a shot," Coste said, allowing for the possibility. "Today's another one of those tryout days."
With Carlos Ruiz nursing a right leg injury and Rod Barajas batting .212, manager Charlie Manuel opted for Coste to start Friday's game on the strength of his two hits Wednesday and his familiarity with starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick. Assuming another hitter doesn't go down with an injury, Werth's return will leave the Phillies with a decision: Keep 12 pitchers or carry a third catcher and pinch-hitter extraordinaire? "I don't know what we're going to do there," said Manuel, who has a long-stated preference for 12 pitchers. I like Coste's bat. He helped us last year in the second half of the season. We'll see what happens. I don't want to say something if I can't back it up." Despite Manuel being one of Coste's biggest fans, it might not be enough. "From what I've experienced this year, to a certain extent, it doesn't matter what I do," Coste said. "It matters what kind of decision they want to make. They were comfortable with the roster they had, and I'm here to replace Jayson Werth, so unless something changes between now and him coming off the DL, I won't hold my breath. To some extent, it makes it easier because I know I don't have to get three hits a game." In the meantime, Coste is finishing his autobiography, "Catching the Dream," which is due to Random House by Aug. 1. The author said he writes about 3,000 words a day, and he e-mails them to his literary agent. He'll rely some on box scores, but mostly it comes from his memory. The book is due out next spring. "It just comes out," Coste said of his writing style. "By no means am I a good writer. Fortunately I've got a publishing company to take care of that." Coste already may have found another story, thanks to ESPN analyst John Kruk. Watching highlights of Wednesday's win on Baseball Tonight, Coste received what he called the "best compliment." "He was talking about the highlights, and Lance Berkman popped up and I caught the final out of the inning," Coste said. "John says, 'Chris Coste is back there. Pitchers love throwing to that guy.' I need to make copies and send it around baseball. That's as big a compliment as I've ever received, by far at the top of the list. I watched it again [Thursday] morning and called my wife and daughter up. I said, 'You have to listen to this.'" "The fact that it was on Baseball Tonight, people listen to what he says. To hear that on baseball's biggest show was great to listen to." Coste just hopes Phils general manager Pat Gillick hears that, as well as this: "He's got a great catching IQ," Cole Hamels said. "He's so aware of what the pitcher has, what [the pitcher] is thinking and what the hitter might be thinking. On top of that, he puts up a great target. The way he catches it, he makes it look pretty." Hamels All-Star starter? Hamels isn't expecting it, but he'll welcome a phone call from National League manager Tony La Russa asking him to start the All-Star Game. "That would be a huge honor, to lead an All-Star team," Hamels said. "It's flattering, but I'm just thankful to be among those guys. It's a confidence builder because those guys are the best of the best. [Jake] Peavy and [Brad] Penny are two of the biggest studs in the NL. I look up to them, and I wouldn't expect to start over them." Keep waiting: The bullpen phone keeps ringing, and Anderson Garcia keeps hoping. Eventually, bullpen coach Ramon Henderson will say his name. "Soon, I hope," Garcia said. Garcia was recalled on July 1 when J.A. Happ was optioned to Triple-A. He's been through this dance before, spending three days with the Mets last May and not pitching then, either. "It will come sooner or later," said Michael Zagurski, who made his Major League debut on his first day in uniform. "It's kind of half good to get in right away, and sometimes it's good to get a take a couple days and enjoy the experience." Quotable: "I watched their games. I think the Mets were hitting the humidor balls and [the Rockies] were hitting the real ones," Manuel, joking about Colorado outscoring the Mets, 34-12, in a three-game series. Injury updates: Reliever Tom Gordon (right rotator cuff inflammation) came out of Thursday's rehab outing well, and he is scheduled to throw again Sunday. He was clocked at 91-92 mph. ... Right-hander Brett Myers (strained right shoulder) could be close to a rehabilitation assignment, assuming he has no setbacks in Saturday's scheduled throwing session. ... Werth (strained left wrist) will have tests performed on his wrist on Monday. A clean bill of health likely will signal a rehabilitation assignment with Class A Clearwater, which plays games through the All-Star break. That could begin as early as Tuesday. Philling in: Outfielder Aaron Rowand returned to the starting lineup on Friday, but he had a protective pad on his bruised right thumb. He hurt himself getting jammed in Sunday's game, and he aggravated it on Tuesday. "Get the [bat] head out, that won't happen," Manuel said. ... The Phillies haven't finalized their rotation for after the All-Star break, though Hamels won't pitch Friday, Philadelphia's first game of the second half. He'll start either Saturday or Sunday, depending on how he's used in the All-Star Game. ... Ruiz missed his second straight game with a sore muscle above his right knee. Manuel said Ruiz may play Saturday or Sunday, though he's considering giving him those two days and the All-Star break to heal. ... Right-hander Jon Lieber had surgery Friday at the Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, where Dr. Mark Myerson reattached the tendon to his right foot. Lieber will be in a walking boot for the next three to four weeks, and he will miss the rest of the regular season. Coming up: Left-hander Jamie Moyer continues to provide solid work for the Phillies, though his previous outing was marred by a tight strike zone that forced him to come over the plate to hitters. The 44-year-old, who is 0-3 against the Rockies in three career outings, will start Saturday's 8:05 p.m. ET game.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.