Notes: Three in mix for final spots

Dobbs, Bourn and Coste in mix for final spots

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The implications were clear.

So while infielder Greg Dobbs, outfielder Michael Bourn and catcher Chris Coste exchanged no high-fives in light of Karim Garcia's release on Wednesday, all understand what Garcia's release might mean to their futures.

All three could find their way onto the Opening Day roster.

Dobbs got here by having a fantastic spring, hitting .393 in 21 games, and Bourn has improved greatly since Spring Training last year. Bourn is hitting .286 with six steals, plus he plays the outfield well and has a strong arm. He can provide the speed off the bench that the Phillies are looking for. Coste's inclusion on the roster depends on how his strained right hamstring responds. He has played in Minor League games for two straight days and has caught several bullpen sessions.

"[I am here] for now," Dobbs said. "A lot could change tomorrow. You want to have that big-league uniform on your back and you can get excited about it, really excited."

Bourn added: "When they come and tell you, then you can say [you've made the team]."

Much depends on the status of Freddy Garcia and Jon Lieber, two pitchers not expected to be ready by Opening Day. Pitcher Zack Segovia is on standby for one of the spots, and Coste would occupy the other, assuming Bourn and Dobbs already have spots locked up.

In this scenario, the Phillies would use 11 pitchers for the first week of the season. If Garcia returns April 8, Coste, Bourn or Segovia would be sent to Triple-A Ottawa, and a second would go when Lieber returns.

Adventure: In breezing through six scoreless innings in his final Spring Training tune-up, Brett Myers encountered some unfriendly situations while trying to bunt.

In a fifth-inning at-bat against Chad Orvella, Myers was hit in the left shoulder. An inning later, he was nearly hit by Brian Stokes, but wound up with a successful sacrifice.

While he didn't think Orvella's throw up and in was intentional, he wasn't so sure about Stokes' pitch.

"I was pretty irritated [with Stokes]," Myers said. "They already knew their spot had passed in the lineup. That's the way they teach their guys, to throw up and in when someone squares around to bunt. I wouldn't recommend doing that in the National League. I didn't think the first dude did it on purpose, but I was unsure about the second, so I asked him. He said, 'I threw a two-seamer.' I said, 'It looked like a four-seamer to me.' It didn't smell too good, either."

Myers didn't think retaliating was necessary.

"I'm not going to hit any of their players," he said. "It's too late in Spring Training to be trying to hurt people. I get more out of striking people out. But I like putting the thought in the back of their heads that I might hit him, because then they'll have a terrible approach [at the plate] and I'll get an easy out."

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Pitchers in action: Garcia and Lieber played catch Wednesday, but remain questionable for the active Opening Day roster, though neither is expected to miss significant time.

Garcia remains on schedule to pitch in an extended Spring Training game on or around April 3, then start against the Marlins on April 7 or 8. If he starts the season on the disabled list, the team could carry an extra position player for the first week of the season.

No. 5 to hit No. 5: With three hits in his past seven at-bats, including a home run on an awkward swing, Pat Burrell raised his Grapefruit League average to .218, and manager Charlie Manuel has seen enough to lean toward keeping his much maligned slugger in the No. 5 spot.

At least for Opening Day.

"It's not like if something happens and he goes bad that I wouldn't consider moving him, but right now, he's my guy," Manuel said. "I compare him to the other guys in our lineup. He's hit there before for me the last two years."

Manuel noted that Burrell's stance has him shifting more weight to his back foot, something he had problems doing last season because the foot was sore. By doing this, the Phillies hope Burrell will use all fields instead of hitting predominantly to the left side.

"He's making an effort to go that [opposite] way in practice, but in games, I sometimes see him get pull happy," Manuel said. "We're working at that, and it might take him a while to get it. He's trying."

Philling in: The Phillies offered Rule 5 Draft pick Jim Ed Warden back to the Indians on Wednesday, and Cleveland accepted him.

Up next: J.A. Happ is scheduled to make his fourth Grapefruit League start and sixth appearance in Bradenton, Fla., against the Pirates at 1:05 p.m. ET on Thursday. The lefty will likely begin the season with Triple-A Ottawa, and could be the first starter summoned if one is needed.

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