MIAMI -- The Phillies could use a guy like Juan Pierre on the 25-man roster next season.

Charlie Manuel thinks so, anyway.

"Juan Pierre is a very special player for you," the manager said. "There are a lot of things you can do with him. He really plays big up in the National League. I think he's a bigger National League player than he is in the American League. The older he gets, the more his age gets. He can definitely play longer being a National League player, I think.

"I can see a spot for him next year, yes sir. I can see a spot for him on about every National League team."

Spring Training 2013 is a long way away, but if Pierre is open to being a role player next season, it would make sense to bring him back. He is well respected, a hard worker and is a strong presence in the clubhouse.

Polanco expects to return Monday, play every day

MIAMI -- Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco knows his schedule for the next few days.

After that, it's anybody's guess.

Polanco planned to travel to Clearwater, Fla., following Wednesday's series finale against Miami at Marlins Park. He will begin a rehab assignment Thursday with Class A Clearwater, playing six innings in the field. He will serve as the designated hitter on Friday, play nine innings in the field Saturday and fly to Philadelphia after a workout Sunday.

He expects to be activated from the 15-day disabled list Monday. Polanco has been on the DL since July 23 because of lower back inflammation. He said he feels 100 percent, although he has some lingering tightness.

"I don't feel anything that I had, the pinching, the strain," he said.

Polanco said he believes he can play every day upon his return.

"I expect to be the everyday third baseman, but what I expect and what is going to happen could be two different things," he said.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said earlier this week it is unlikely Polanco can play every day because of his back. Kevin Frandsen also has played well at third base, entering Wednesday's series finale hitting .315 with one home run and two RBIs. But Polanco is a superior defensive third baseman, and certainly Phillies pitchers would like to see him on the field.

"I don't know what's going to happen," Polanco said. "I just want to be healthy for whatever. If he plays me, he plays me. If not ..."

Howard rests as Phils stack righties vs. Buehrle

MIAMI -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel loaded up on right-handed hitters to face Marlins left-hander Mark Buehrle on Wednesday at Marlins Park.

That included giving Ryan Howard his first day off since Aug. 2.

Manuel said he told the left-handed-hitting first baseman a few days ago he would give him a break against Buehrle. Ty Wigginton started at first base. Manuel also started Hector Luna in left field over Juan Pierre, and Erik Kratz behind the plate over Brian Schneider.

"I wanted Luna's bat in the lineup against Buehrle, because it gives us more pop," Manuel said.

Chase Utley started at second base. He has started every game since July 15.

"I definitely have got to start giving Ultey a blow every now and then," Manuel said. "I want to give [Jimmy] Rollins a blow every now and then, too."