PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies activated left-hander J.A. Happ from the disabled list on Tuesday but then optioned him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, hoping that additional time in the Minors will help him regain his form from last season.
Happ made two starts for the Phillies before being put on the DL with a left forearm strain on April 22. The 27-year-old, who went 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA for Philadelphia last season, made six rehab starts and was 1-1 with a 6.93 ERA.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and pitching coach Rich Dubee agreed that Happ's progression wasn't where they wanted it to be, and they weren't ready to squeeze him into Philadelphia's rotation, which has been pitching decently.
"I was honest with him," Amaro said. "I think he just wasn't pitching well enough to be in our rotation right now. I think he will be soon. But just from the way we evaluated him and the way he threw, he's making progress, but not well enough to break into our rotation at this time."
Happ's velocity appeared to be fine, but his consistency of command in the strike zone wasn't there. Both Amaro and Dubee expressed optimism that Happ will be able to return to the Major League club and help from the rotation at some point this season.
"I just told him, 'Don't waste time down there,' " Dubee said. "Hopefully he gets down there and throws a bullpen [session]. He should get down there and work to get back up as soon as possible."
When asked what Happ needs to work on most, Dubee said the hurler needs to get more reps.
"If he's being truthful, and he's healthy, he needs reps," Dubee said. "You don't just pick a baseball up and [say], 'Here I am.' "
The Phillies could have applied to extend Happ's rehab stint, but Happ did not suffer any setbacks health-wise.
"He's got a lot of reps now, even maybe more than he would in Spring Training, so he should be ready," Amaro said. "But he's just not pitching as well as he has in the past. I think he will."
Sardinha dealing with the heat
PHILADELPHIA -- As Dane Sardinha squatted to catch Cole Hamels' first pitch on Tuesday evening, the shadows had just crept past the infield. The game-time temperature, though, stood at 99 degrees.
It felt even hotter behind the mask Sardinha has been wearing for the past seven days. With Carlos Ruiz on the disabled list and Brian Schneider still out with a sprained left thumb, Sardinha has been Philadelphia's only option behind the plate. And lately he has battled through some sweltering conditions.
Tuesday's temperatures reached the hottest that Philadelphia has endured in 15 years, and on Monday, pregame measurements on the field read 110 degrees at one point. Sardinha went through two shirts, two bottles of Gatorade and eight bottles of water over the course of the day.
But he was smiling about it in the clubhouse on Tuesday, and he said he hasn't lost any energy yet.
"When you have opportunities like this, you have to put it all behind you and make the best of it," Sardinha said.
The 31-year-old journeyman has held his own in 11 games since being called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on June 19 after Ruiz went down with a concussion. He's hitting .250 with three home runs and eight RBIs, and he made a key throw to nail Gregor Blanco attempting to steal second base in the eighth inning of Monday's win over Atlanta.
"He's played great," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He's caught really really well. You just don't notice him -- that's what you want out of a guy who's catching back there. He does a good job."
Schneider took full batting practice before Tuesday's game and caught a bullpen session. He said that his thumb is feeling good and that he expects to be ready to play on Wednesday if needed.
"I'll be ready," Schneider said, then motioned to Sardinha sitting at the locker next to him. "This guy needs a break."
Ruiz will begin a rehab assignment for Lehigh Valley on Wednesday after seeing a concussion specialist in Pittsburgh for the second time on Monday. Amaro hopes Ruiz can rejoin the team before the All-Star break.
Madson could be activated on Wednesday
PHILADELPHIA -- Reliever Ryan Madson may be activated from the disabled list as early as Wednesday, depending on how well he performs in his rehab outing for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday.
The outing went very well, as Madson pitched a perfect inning in which he recorded two strikeouts.
Madson has been out since April 30 with a broken big toe on his right foot.
Two other relievers will begin Minor League rehab assignments on July 10, according to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. Right-hander Chad Durbin (right hamstring) and left-hander Antonio Bastardo (ulnar neuritis in left elbow) will both pitch for Class A Clearwater.
Zach Schonbrun is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.