Notes: Manuel hammering out rotation

Notes: Manuel hammering out rotation

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jamie Moyer's first Florida Spring Training since 1996 starts with the always fun jaunt along Interstate 4.

The 44-year-old veteran is scheduled to make the 90-minute trek to Lakeland, where he'll open the Phillies' Grapefruit League schedule against the defending American League champion Tigers.

Brett Myers is expected to start the home opener on Friday, with Adam Eaton and Cole Hamels throwing on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Freddy Garcia and Jon Lieber will each make their first spring appearance on Monday. Garcia will toss a "B" game against the Blue Jays at Bright House Networks Field, while Lieber heads to Sarasota to face the Reds.

Manager Charlie Manuel said nothing should be read into this rotation alignment. It's too early in the process, so disregard the fact Eaton is in line to start Opening Day, assuming each pitcher went every fifth day from here. It won't happen.

"About 10 days to two weeks [from now], that's when you start lining it up," Manuel said. "Right now, it doesn't mean anything. After our first cuts or something, or maybe a little before, that's when we'll get an idea."

Complicating the process is the fact that Manuel has six starting pitchers to work in, meaning Garcia and Lieber may double up on some days, given this rotation. Monday's "B" game helped, as will a March 10 split-squad vs. Tampa Bay and Houston.

"We'll get their work in," Manuel said. "Some days, two of them might pitch in the Minor Leagues or on short rest. We have to get six pitchers ready, but there will come a time when we'll have to set an order."

Manuel is notorious for waiting to name his Opening Day starter. Lieber started the previous two, but that won't happen this year. The choice appears to be between newcomer Garcia, a 17-game winner, and ace-in-waiting Myers.

Once Manuel makes that call, he'll decide whether to start the other on April 4. Garcia and Myers have similar styles -- they're both right-handed power pitchers -- and Manuel may break that up by inserting the lefty Hamels between them. If Hamels goes second, Moyer might go fourth, allowing for a right-left-right-left-right rotation.

"We can give people different looks by splitting up our rotation," Manuel said. "We'll figure it out."

No Bobby: Bobby Abreu's return to Bright House Networks Field, scheduled for Sunday, has been cancelled, with a possible appearance on the 17th also questionable.

The Yankees right fielder will miss at least two weeks with a strained right oblique (side) muscle, sustained while taking batting practice on Monday.

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"He had a significant oblique strain, and it could be timely," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "I know Joe [Torre] said two weeks, and I'll probably say three weeks, but we'll see. It could be one week."

If Abreu can't make the trip here, he could be ready for the games at Legends Field on March 20 and March 26.

Not happy: Ramon Henderson won't get the chance to go for his third win as an intrasquad manager.

Wednesday's game against Florida State University replaced the team's annual contest, meaning Henderson's record as a manager in such games remains at 2-1.

"I'm very disappointed," Henderson said with a laugh. "Hopefully, I'll get another chance someday."

Henderson can still take solace in being the most famous batting-practice pitcher in the Major Leagues, having led Abreu and Ryan Howard to the past two Home Run Derby Championships.

Over the years, Henderson and former bench coach Gary Varsho or first-base coach Marc Bombard would wager dinner on the outcome, typically a Wendy's meal.

In the booth: Jim Jackson, longtime Flyers play-by-play announcer, will join the Phillies broadcast team for the 2007. The veteran announcer will host the pre-game and post-game shows, a role handled last year by Scott Franzke.

Franske will be responsible exclusively for play-by-play.

Jackson, 43, has been broadcasting hockey games for 20 years, the last 14 with the Flyers, but also has baseball experience.

A graduate of Syracuse University with a degree in broadcast journalism, he did radio play-by-play for the Utica Blue Sox of the New York-Penn League from 1986-93. He spent the summer of 2005 broadcasting the Trenton Thunder of the Eastern League and was the television voice of the Cal Ripken World Series on OLN in August 2006.

He will also continue to do play-by-play during the Flyers' season.

Useless trivia: Florida State University, the Phillies' opponent on Wednesday, is 2-6 in eight exhibition games against Major League teams.

Philling in: Pat Burrell received some one-on-one teaching from Davey Lopes, discussing leads at first base. ... Mike Maroth, Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya are scheduled to pitch for the Tigers in Thursday's Grapefruit League opener. Regulars Aaron Rowand, Pat Burrell, Howard, Chase Utley and Abraham Nunez are not scheduled to make the trip, though they will likely play in Friday's home opener at Bright House Networks Field. ... The Phillies had an abbreviated workout on Tuesday, then headed off for their annual golf tournament. Scott Mathieson, still recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, played, but was limited to putting only.

Ken Mandel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.