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Notes: Slowing it down aids Durbin

Notes: Slowing it down aids Durbin

PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander J.D. Durbin is paying some big dividends for the Phillies in their bid to make the playoffs.

Durbin returned to the Phillies' starting rotation on Friday night in Pittsburgh after being moved to the bullpen to open a spot for Kyle Lohse. Durbin surrendered a walk to leadoff hitter Nate McLouth on four pitches and gave up an RBI single to Freddy Sanchez. But he settled down and retired 17 of the next 21 batters as the Phillies defeated the Pirates, 11-8.

Durbin has been with four different organizations and was waived three times earlier this season. Minnesota, Arizona and Boston decided he didn't fit into their plans.

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"That's amazing, that it happened three times," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "But it also tells you that those teams thought he could pitch in the big leagues and he could help them. That's the way I look at it."

Durbin is 4-1 with a 4.11 ERA in six starts for the Phillies.

"I love starting and I love knowing when I'm going to get the ball and knowing who I'm going to face and in what park," Durbin stated. "If Charlie wants me to stay in the rotation, I'm all for it. Every time out I'm going to go out and give 100 percent."

Slowing the game down has been a big key for Durbin.

"I stand on the mound and I'm tapping my glove with the ball in my hand, just looking down," Durbin explained. "I'm slowing myself down and slowing the game down. Instead of getting the ball back and rapid fire -- you know take a deep breath, think about the pitch and what and what I want to execute and go after it."

Manuel says the right-hander has a chance to remain in the rotation.

"There's an opportunity for him to stay in there," Manuel explained. "Keep pitching and play it start by start and let him pitch and do his thing."

Durbin has proven to be quite a bargain basement pickup by baseball standards. He is making the league minimum of $380,000.

"I'd say we've already got some good pitching out of him," Manuel said.

Zagurski On DL: Reliever Mike Zagurski left in the eighth inning of Saturday night's game when he injured his right leg trying to field a ball. Zagurski has a right hamstring strain and has been placed on the 15 day disabled list.

"I feel better today than I did [Saturday]," Zagurski reported. "I'm going to see a doctor on Monday and see what he says and go from there."

The Phillies have had 16 players go on the disabled list since the start of Spring Training.

Zagurski's roster spot was filled by right-hander Yoel Hernandez, who was recalled from Triple A Ottawa.

Eaton tosses: Right-hander Adam Eaton, who landed on the 15-day DL Wednesday with a sore right shoulder, played catch on Saturday and will try to play catch on Sunday. He reported no problems and expects to pitch a bullpen session off the mound on Wednesday.

Injury update: Catcher Rod Barajas, on the disabled list with a strained right groin, began a rehab assignment on Friday night with Class A Lakewood. He was 2-for-2 and drew a walk and caught seven innings on Saturday night as Lakewood fell to Hickory, 3-1. He is scheduled to catch nine innings Sunday for Lakewood.

On deck: Following an off-day on Monday, the Phillies open a three-game series with the Dodgers at 7:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park. Right-hander Kyle Kendrick (5-3, 3.94 ERA) gets the start for the Phils. The Dodgers will hand the ball to right-hander Brett Tomko (2-10, 5.67 ERA).

George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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