4/4/2014 8:46 P.M. ET
Howard's aggressive approach pays off early
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Ryne Sandberg said he is encouraged with what he has seen this week from Ryan Howard.
Howard is hitting .294 (5-for-17) with one double, one home run, three RBIs, two walks and eight strikeouts. He put up those numbers despite facing three left-handed starting pitchers in the season's first four games. Howard's extra-base hits and every RBI have come against a lefty in big situations. His single to right field in the fourth inning Friday against Cubs left-hander Travis Wood advanced Marlon Byrd from first to third. Byrd scored the Phillies' first run in a 7-2 victory on an infield single from Domonic Brown.
The only things hampering Howard have been swings and misses at pitches outside the strike zone.
"I liked the aggressiveness in his swings," Sandberg said. "I think there is more bat speed. That's come a long way since the middle part of Spring Training. With that being said, when he gets a pitch in the zone with that swing, he can do some damage for us. He just needs to concentrate on making them come to him. There are some bats behind him. Take some walks if they give them. Ball in the zone, he can make something happen."
Rollins out one more day after miscommunication
CHICAGO -- Jimmy Rollins is expected to be back in the Phillies' lineup Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Rollins, who left the team Wednesday to be with his wife for the birth of their second child, had been penciled into Friday's lineup, but thereafter, he was scratched. Phils manager Ryne Sandberg called it an "internal miscommunication" on the organization's part.
"Everything is fine," Sandberg said. "He'll be good to go. He'll get in tonight and be in the lineup tomorrow."
Jayson Nix replaced Rollins at shortstop.
The Phillies never placed Rollins on the paternity leave list, which would have allowed them to temporarily replace him on the roster. But options were limited with available players on the 40-man roster. One possibility would have been catcher Cameron Rupp, who could have been used for pinch-hitting purposes.
• Triple-A right-hander David Buchanan pitched Thursday, allowing two hits, two walks and striking out five in six scoreless innings. The Phillies need a fifth starter April 13, and Buchanan looks like the favorite at this point.
• Sandberg played many cold, windy games at Wrigley Field during his Hall of Fame career. It was cold Friday, with the wind blowing out to right field. "I would say, for most of my career, if it was cold in April, it blew in 95 percent of the time," Sandberg said. "It's blowing out to right. Coming out of Spring Training, I used to struggle in Aprils here. But if the wind was blowing out, that would be a whole different scenario. That usually happened in May. I used to look forward to that."
• Infielder Freddy Galvis will play his first extended spring game Saturday in Clearwater, Fla. He is on the disabled list, recovering from MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.