Last week the Phillies signed Jack Cust to a minor-league contract as a potential left-handed bench bat, but Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that they’re still looking to add a lefty swinging veteran for the stretch run.
Jim Thome would be the most obvious solution, as he played for the Phillies from 2003 to 2005 and remains very productive in a part-time role for the Twins at age 41, with Minnesota perhaps open to trading the future Hall of Famer after he reached 600 homers Monday.
Another, similar option is Jason Giambi, who said last month that he’d be interested in re-signing with the Rockies for next season even if they traded him this year. Giambi has hit very well in a limited role behind Todd Helton.
They would both represent significant upgrades over Ross Gload and Brian Schneider while giving manager Charlie Manuel a late-inning weapon in the playoffs. Of course, Brookover speculates that other NL teams would put claims in on Thome or Giambi just to block the Phillies from potentially dealing for them, in which case calling up Cust or recalling Dominic Brown might be their best option.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.