05/02/10 9:25 PM ET
Rollins' return target pushed back
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
Jimmy Rollins said Sunday it will be great if he can play in four.
Rollins said he still feels tightness in his strained right calf, which he injured April 12 during pregame warmups at Citizens Bank Park. He is taking batting and fielding practice, but said he still feels the injury when he moves to his left while fielding ground balls. The Phillies originally estimated Rollins might miss two to four weeks, but the estimate has extended to six weeks.
"I've had pulled muscles, strained my groin and missed a game," Rollins said. "Something like this where it felt like somebody shot you? I've never been in this situation."
So at least a couple more weeks?
"Miracles can happen," Rollins said.
So he's waiting on a miracle?
"Basically," he said.
But if no miracle comes, Rollins sounds like he does not expect to be back until mid-May at the earliest.
Rollins said the nagging injury has not tested his patience.
"It's testing their patience," Rollins said, referring to his teammates, "going around being everybody's coach and stuff. They're tired of it, so I just stay out of the dugout. It's not a good place to be when you're injured."
Kendrick won't be bumped from rotation
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies said right-hander Kyle Kendrick will start Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park, despite a 7.61 ERA after five starts.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee said they prefer to keep right-hander Nelson Figueroa, who is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA, in the bullpen because of his flexibility and because he is used to it. They said they had not heard any talk about possibly calling up a pitcher from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, either.
"You've got somebody down in Lehigh who's pitching better right now?" Dubee said. "Right now, we think Kyle will get straightened out. And I don't know we have a whole lot of other candidates. We need Kyle to step up. We need him to be more efficient. We need him to pitch down in the strike zone. We need his tempo to pick up so we have energy playing behind him. And he's aware of those things. Now he has to put them in play."
Baez working on mechanics
PHILADELPHIA -- Danys Baez and Jose Contreras spend many of their afternoons working on their pitching mechanics in the bullpen, a relatively unusual sight for relief pitchers.
Contreras is 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA. In just 6 2/3 innings in eight appearances, he has struck out 12 batters. On the other hand, Baez has struggled. He is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA.
"Having Tommy John surgery [in 2008], I still have things to work on," Baez said. "We've been working on our mechanics. When you don't have good mechanics, you don't have good location and you hurt yourself."
On two occasions the Phillies have asked Baez to pitch more than one inning. Both times, he threw a scoreless first inning before allowing runs in the second.
"He's been fine for one inning," pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "He gets elevated. It's hard to get elevated in this ballpark. The ball flies here. A ball that is coming in elevated generally is very flat and gets larger than life. It does. Watch guys who throw downhill. The hitters are seeing the top half of the ball. If it's elevated, it's coming in the size of a softball. That's not good for a pitcher. When Danys is down, look at how many choppers he gets back to himself."
Blanton set to return from disabled list
PHILADELPHIA -- It has been a long month for Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton, but he finally makes his 2010 debut Monday night against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park.
Blanton has been on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, just one of many Phillies players on the DL during the first month of the season. Left-handers J.A. Happ and J.C. Romero, right-handers Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson and shortstop Jimmy Rollins also have spent time on the DL. In order to make room for Blanton on the 25-man roster, Antonio Bastardo was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
"It's tough," Blanton said. "I know they want to be out there, too. Everybody wants to be healthy. It's been tough with all the injuries we've had, but the fortunate thing we have going for us is it's early in the season still. Hopefully sooner than later we can get everybody back out there."
The Phillies did not say if Blanton would be on a strict pitch count Monday, but they will watch him closely.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is thrilled to have Blanton back. Blanton has made 44 regular-season starts for the Phillies since he joined the team in July 2008. He has pitched six or more innings 29 times, and is 12-7 with a 2.63 ERA in those starts.
The Phillies could use some of that soon. Phillies starters not named Roy Halladay entered Sunday night's game against the Mets with a 5.19 ERA.
"He gives us some length in the game," Manuel said of Blanton. "He's been consistent about that, and we need consistent pitching. That's what it's going to take for us to win. I feel like [Cole] Hamels is really close. His stuff was good. He's pitched a couple good games. I think he's all right. But we our starting pitching has to be better, and our bullpen has to be better. I think they know that. If they don't, I'll tell them. We've got to get better. We've got to have more than Roy. And we also need Cole to be good. And he knows that."
Manuel plans to ease Lidge back into 'pen
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said if the Phillies found themselves in a save situation Sunday night, he probably would not choose Brad Lidge to close.
"I want to work him in," Manuel said. "I think he needs work. I think he still needs some pitching time."
Jose Contreras probably would close until Manuel deems Lidge ready.
Werth: Leg fatigue 'no big deal'
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies right fielder Jayson Werth left Sunday night's game prior to the eighth inning because of fatigue and cramping in his legs.
"No big deal," he said. "It's been hot the past couple days and I was dehydrated. I'm fine. From time to time throughout the years I've had some cramping."
Werth left an April 12 game against Washington because of soreness in his left hip. He said that has been fine, and was not an issue Sunday.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.