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Calf strain forces Phillies' Eyre to DL

Calf strain forces Phillies' Eyre to DL

PHILADELPHIA -- During batting practice on Friday, Scott Eyre sat next to the water cooler in the home dugout and offered to pour his teammates drinks.

"I've got nothing else to do," Eyre joked.

The Phillies placed the left-handed reliever on the 15-day disabled list with a left calf strain, recalling right-hander Kyle Kendrick from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to fill his roster spot.

Eyre felt some minor soreness in his calf when the Phillies were in San Diego last week, and again during Wednesday's 6-3 victory over the Mets. But it only became problematic as Eyre prepared to enter Thursday night's series finale in the ninth inning.

"Running in from the 'pen, I felt a couple of little pops in my calf," said Eyre, who is is 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA and 10 holds in 25 games (14 innings). "I had to stop [Thursday] night and walk the rest of the way in. I didn't really enjoy that. I like to run all the way in to the mound and get my job done, and get out."

He still got his job done, retiring Fernando Martinez on two pitches and earning the "W" after Raul Ibanez hit a three-run homer in the 10th.

Yet he had no mobility -- even warning first baseman Ryan Howard that he would be unable to cover first on a ball hit to the right side -- and an MRI on Friday revealed the Grade 2 strain in his left calf. Grade 3 is the most severe, a complete tearing of the muscle.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was unsure of Eyre's recovery timetable, but the 37-year-old said he plans to return as soon as his DL stint is over.

"Fifteen days, I should be able to come back," said Eyre, who will likely retire after this season. "I get 15 days to be a cheerleader."

In the meantime, 31-year-old left-hander Jack Taschner should get more work; he has pitched just once in the past two weeks. And Kendrick gets to return to the Majors, albeit in a different role. He started 51 games for the Phillies in 2007-08, going 21-13 with a 4.78 ERA, but lost the Spring Training competition for the fifth rotation spot and was sent to the Minors instead. In 12 games -- all starts -- with Lehigh Valley, Kendrick was 4-4 with a 4.03 ERA, striking out 39 in 67 innings.

Now, however, he will be pitching out of the bullpen. Organizational reports indicated that Kendrick's changeup is starting to improve, Manuel said. But the manager stressed that the Phillies recalled the 24-year-old because, with the Red Sox and other American League boppers coming to town, they wanted a pitcher who could throw multiple innings of relief. The timing also worked out well; Kendrick was slated to start for the IronPigs on Friday.

"It makes me feel good -- no matter if you're in the bullpen or you're a starter, you want to be in the big leagues," Kendrick said. "I'm glad to be back. I know that. I'll just learn from the guys out there [in the bullpen]. Ask some questions. Hopefully, I'll pitch some big innings and help us win some games."

On Friday, as Kendrick and the rest of the Phillies went through their normal pregame routine, Eyre threw with injured closer Brad Lidge for about 10 minutes. Eyre will continue to play catch, ride the stationary bike and perform other cardiovascular exercises -- anything to ensure that he can return when eligible without a rehab assignment, where usually he finds himself treating Minor Leaguers to dinner.

"I don't like going on rehabs," Eyre said with a smile. "I spend way too much money down there."

David Gurian-Peck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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