SAN DIEGO -- The Phillies will get a close look at a pitcher they let get away on Friday, when Padres right-hander Justin Germano brings his assortment of soft tosses to the PETCO Park mound. And the 24-year-old is looking forward to it. "Yeah," he said, his eyes widening considerably. "I'm glad it worked out this way. I'm going to be a little more excited to play these guys."
As the Phillies have been beset with injuries to starters Jon Lieber and Freddy Garcia, then relievers Brett Myers and Tom Gordon, it's logical to assume that Germano could've provided the same assistance he's given to San Diego in stepping in for Clay Hensley. The right-hander is 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA after going 5-0 with a 2.36 ERA in his first seven starts. Could he have helped the Phillies, who have turned to rookies Kyle Kendrick, J.D. Durbin, Zack Segovia and J.A. Happ? "Evidently, he must have come up with a ... changeup," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I was reading reports, and they were saying there's a big difference. They say he has real good command of his change and breaking ball -- and throws underneath the law of gravity. He's been successful because he can command of three pitches. In Spring Training, we saw a breaking ball and a fastball. He's been very surprising." Germano fared well at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre after being acquired from the Reds for lefty Rheal Cormier at last season's trade deadline, and won the Red Barons' lone playoff game, yet wasn't called up in September. Unfazed, he vied for a bullpen spot this spring and didn't emerge from a crowded field. A rough patch in Spring Training sealed Germano's fate, as the Phillies felt they had no place for the right-hander. He was placed on waivers March 19 and claimed by San Diego, the team which selected him in the 13th round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft. The Padres slipped him through waivers at the end of the spring, when most clubs set their rosters. General manager Kevin Towers was relieved when he cleared. "A lot of [waiver claims] have to do with the timing," Towers said. "When somebody goes through that late, especially a guy who doesn't have options, a lot of clubs want to give first crack to guys who have been in their camp all spring. That's why some clubs wait." Towers said things couldn't have worked out better. "He's exceeded our expectations," Towers said. "When we got him, we were just hoping to get him in the system, hopefully outright him off the roster and have him at Triple-A as depth in case there's an injury, and hope he'd be the type of pitcher we had before we traded him [to Cincinnati]. Hopefully, he'll keep it up." Germano will have extra focus on Friday, and wants to show the Phillies their folly, much like any player against a former team. "I was bummed leaving there, but happy to come back here," Germano said. "Things worked out for the best. I've been up and down. Earlier [in my career], I didn't have much success, and that can haunt you, because they look at numbers, not really how you've progressed. I don't light up the radar gun, so not many things open their eyes except throwing strikes and getting people out. But they want to see that 95 [mph]." That's definitely it, maybe: Catcher Rod Barajas returned to the team Thursday after spending three days in Arizona assisting his wife, Stacie, who gave birth to the couple's sixth child. Daughter Aubrielle arrived late Tuesday night and allowed Barajas to tie Jamie Moyer as fathers of six children. "This team has to have the most kids in the league," Barajas said, citing pitchers Jose Mesa and Gordon. Asked if Aubrielle was the last, Barajas hedged. "I'm definitely done ... for now," he said. "Never say never. You get to a number and you're like, I can handle one more. Now that we have the six, so we'll see if we can handle one more in the future." Big families are nothing new to Barajas, who is one of four siblings. His father was one of 13 children and his mother one of seven. So he's still way behind at six. "I had a lot of cousins, and aunts and uncles growing up, so I was always around the big family atmosphere," he said. Philling in: Manuel ideally wants to get Gordon two more low-stress appearances before putting him in a bigger situation. The closer endured a 13-pitch outing in Sunday's 15-3 win over the Dodgers. ... Outfielder Jayson Werth is still taking batting practice at the team's Spring Training complex in Clearwater, Fla., and has yet to appear in a game. Manuel would like to see him Werth at least 30 at-bats, or a week's worth of games, before activating him. ... Myers begins his rehab stint with Class A Clearwater on Friday. Coming up: Righty Adam Eaton, who opposes Germano on Friday at 10:05 p.m. ET, had one of many forgettable starts his last time out, allowing the Cardinals six earned runs and 10 hits. Eaton hasn't allowed fewer than three runs in a game since June 11. Since then, he's allowed two home runs in four of five starts. Eaton will be making his first start against the Padres after pitching for them the first six years of his career. His lowest ERA during that time was 4.08, posted in 2003.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.