PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg is not ready to announce his decision on Saturday's starter against the Marlins, but all signs point to Jonathan Pettibone getting the ball.
Sandberg said Wednesday he's made a decision, but "not officially." Saturday is the first time this season that the Phillies will require a fifth starter.
Pettibone, currently with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, appears to be the most likely candidate to start because Sandberg said it's "safe" to rule out fellow right-hander David Buchanan, who made 93 pitches over five innings in a start with the Iron Pigs on Tuesday. Buchanan would be pitching on short rest on Saturday.
Jeff Manship is another option, but Sandberg said he would only expect Manship to be able to pitch three innings. Manship has starting experience, but has shown value as a long man out of the bullpen.
"He's a luxury right now in the bullpen with the two innings, three-inning possibilities," Sandberg said of Manship. "Length guy. He's that guy in our 'pen right now and he did a nice job in Chicago in that role. He was available for a shorter stint [Tuesday] night and he's more of a longer guy for tonight."
Pettibone pitched five innings on Sunday afternoon for Lehigh Valley, allowing three runs on four hits with two strikeouts and one walk. He had a 4.04 ERA in 18 starts with the Phillies last season.
Pettibone is on the 40-man roster, but the Phillies would need to make a roster move to open a spot for him on the active roster.
Battling flu, Utley to be available off bench
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies second baseman Chase Utley is still recovering from the flu, but manager Ryne Sandberg said Utley is available off the bench for Wednesday's game against the Brewers.
Utley did not work out on the field with the team at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday afternoon. He was sent home from the ballpark before Tuesday's home opener and has been battling the flu since Friday in Chicago, Sandberg said.
"He's about half better," Sandberg said before Wednesday's game. "Hopefully he'll be ready to be a late-inning pinch-hitter or that type of role for tonight's game. He's still a little weak, but he thought he could handle that job. As of right now he'll be ready."
Utley's absence from the lineup is a noticeable loss for the Phillies. Utley entered Wednesday with a .458 batting average, two home runs, six RBIs and a 1.369 OPS, which leads the National League.
Catcher Carlos Ruiz filled in for Utley in the No. 3 hole in the batting order for the second straight game Wednesday and Cesar Hernandez made his second straight start at second base.
Asche out of lineup with hamstring injury
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies third baseman Cody Asche was held out the lineup on Wednesday with what manager Ryne Sandberg called a "little tweak" of his hamstring. But Sandberg stressed that the injury was "nothing major at all."
Sandberg said Asche injured his hamstring around the sixth inning of Tuesday's loss against the Brewers, though the third baseman did not come out of the game. The manager also said Asche dealt with a similar injury in Spring Training and recovered after a day off.
Asche was on the field at Citizens Bank Park early on Wednesday afternoon, fielding ground balls and getting instruction from the Phillies' coaching staff. He appeared to be moving well.
Asche struggled defensively on Tuesday, committing a throwing error and mishandling some ground balls. But he said Wednesday's extra work was just part of his routine and not a reaction to Tuesday's performance.
"Yesterday was a tough day," Asche said. "I kind of rushed a throw on a ball I dove for and a couple of double-play balls that should have been made. I wouldn't say I'm frustrated, just making sure I'm getting better. That's all."
"He's working on his setup," Sandberg said. "He's working on where to hold his glove. He's working on side-to-side movement. So he's working on a lot of things. Going by last year, when I saw him in Spring Training, and then when I saw him after the All-Star break last year, he came a long way with the quick movements, side to side, so I think extra work will be a big part of getting him where he wants to be."
Jayson Nix got the start at third base on Wednesday.
• Phillies reliever Mike Adams, recovering from right shoulder surgery, pitched a perfect inning in a rehab outing with Class A Advanced Clearwater on Tuesday. Adams said during Spring Training that he hoped to be activated from the disabled list by April 15.
"Threw well for one inning," Sandberg said. "Everything positive with him. I would say more than halfway through [with his rehab]. There's not a set date, but that's another decision to monitor and see what's the smartest decision to do with him. But he's on the fast track."
• Phillies infielder Freddy Galvis, on the DL recovering from MRSA, started at third base for Clearwater on Tuesday and went 1-for-4 with a triple and a run scored. Galvis could be activated by the end of the month.
"He's coming along real fast, getting games played and also a lot of at-bats in games," Sandberg said.
• Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels threw a bullpen session on Wednesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park and took batting practice. He's scheduled to make a rehab start with Clearwater on Friday and hopes to be activated from the DL in less than two weeks.