PHILADELPHIA -- In an ideal world for these Phillies, every fifth day in September would be dedicated to the education of Adam Morgan. This team is in search of fortification for its starting rotation in 2014. The lefthanded pitching prospect impressed last spring and earned an aggressive promotion to triple-A Lehigh Valley in April.
But Morgan's season was derailed by lingering shoulder problems, and the team feared rotator-cuff surgery was possible. No surgery is required, however, after an MRI exam last week did not reveal changes in Morgan's shoulder.
"That's good news," assistant general manager Benny Looper said.
Morgan, 23, was prescribed rest. He missed two months of action during the season, but Looper said the shutdown would last longer this time. He expects Morgan to begin a throwing program sometime in December, giving the pitcher's arm at least three months of inactivity.
Surgery could have sidelined Morgan well into next season. While a shortened 2013 diminishes his chances of making the rotation in spring training, he at least provides much-needed depth for later.
The Phillies possess two certainties in Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. The rest of the rotation is in question. When asked what his team's offseason priorities are, interim manager Ryne Sandberg did not hesitate.
"A solidified starting rotation could be No. 1," Sandberg said.
Cuban righthander Miguel Gonzalez, signed to a three-year, $12 million deal, could assume one spot. Kyle Kendrick is eligible for another year of arbitration and will likely return. Roy Halladay is a free agent. Jonathan Pettibone is overcoming his own shoulder problems. Ethan Martin's future is in the bullpen. Jesse Biddle could use more minor-league seasoning.
The Phillies replaced fired minor-league pitching coordinator Gorman Heimueller by promoting another longtime employee, Carlos Arroyo. Next season will mark Arroyo's 38th with the organization. He served as roving pitching coach in 2013. ... Chase Utley was named one of six finalists for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, which commemorates a player's on-field performance and charitable efforts. Players vote on the winner.
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