NEW YORK -- The Phillies continue their 2013 bullpen auditions, and with just 14 games to play, every inning counts.
Obviously, closer Jonathan Papelbon will be in the bullpen next year, but who else will be behind him?
"I think we have some real good pieces there," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said before Wednesday night's game against the Mets at Citi Field. "But I think we need at least one good piece. And when I talk about pieces, I mean someone that's very, very good. First-class good. That's what it takes to be a first-class team."
Manuel wants at least one stud to come from outside the organization, which certainly must be on the Phils' to-do list. But inside the organization, right-hander Josh Lindblom, whom the Phillies acquired from the Dodgers in the Shane Victorino trade, would seem to have an inside track on a job. Left-hander Antonio Bastardo would seem like an obvious choice, too, but he is 2-5 with a 4.63 ERA in 58 appearances this season and 2-6 with a 5.79 ERA in 66 appearances dating to last season.
Is it possible left-handers Jake Diekman and Jeremy Horst and maybe a lefty somewhere on the free-agent market could bump Bastardo out? The Phils absolutely love Diekman's arm, although his Achilles heel is throwing strikes. Horst has done the job. He was 1-0 with a 1.14 ERA in 24 appearances entering Wednesday.
After all, this business is about results and for more than a year, Bastardo has not had them.
"Oh, no," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "I think he's part of our club. Obviously he's going to have to continue to prove himself, but I believe he's going to be part of our club. None of these things are slam dunks for any of the guys, other than maybe Pap. I think [Bastardo] has more experience. I think he's a much better pitcher than he's shown. He's not as great a pitcher as he was probably for the bulk of the season last season, but ... you've got to kind of get him back on track and moving forward."