Rollins should return against Pirates
All-Star shortstop has been sidelined since April 13
MILWAUKEE -- The Phillies should have Jimmy Rollins back in the lineup Monday.
Rollins, who has been on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right calf since April 13, flew from Florida to Philadelphia on Sunday to rejoin the team.
Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said Rollins will be evaluated Monday. Assuming that goes well, Rollins will be activated before the series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park.
Rollins, who hit .391 in 23 at-bats before getting hurt during pregame warmups April 12, has played in one rehabilitation game with Class A Clearwater, plus a few extended spring training games. Reports have been positive.
"What we missed is that Jimmy is an all-around player," manager Charlie Manuel said. "You can't put his value in one area. He can run. He can throw. He's a switch-hitter. He can steal bases. He can make deep throws on the cutoff. He can play defense. He's an all-around player. He's one of the better players in the league. Yeah, we've missed him. Our lineup is better with Jimmy in there."
Infielder Wilson Valdez, who has hit .234 in 47 at-bats, took Rollins' place on the roster in April. He most likely will be moved to make room for Rollins. But because Valdez is out of options, he would need to clear waivers for the Phillies to keep him.
Francisco still sitting on bench
MILWAUKEE -- Before the Phillies arrived in Milwaukee on Thursday, the Brewers had scheduled three left-handed pitchers to face them.
It looked like a perfect opportunity for the Phillies to play outfielder Ben Francisco, who has just 22 plate appearances this season and just three since April 26. But Francisco has remained on the bench, and once the Brewers swapped left-hander Doug Davis for right-hander Dave Bush in Sunday's series finale, it sealed Francisco's fate.
It is difficult for bench players to remain sharp without some playing time. Outfielder Ross Gload has just 23 plate appearances this season. Greg Dobbs has 29. But Francisco has seen less action than both of them.
"You just try to work as much as you can," said Francisco, asked what he can do to keep sharp with a scarcity of plate appearances.
If Francisco is frustrated, he did an excellent job of hiding it. He said he is not about to complain or lobby for more playing time because the team is winning and Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez are playing well. The Phillies entered Sunday's game against the Brewers with a National-League best record of 22-13.
"It makes it a little better, but obviously everybody wants to play," he said.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has said repeatedly that he understands the importance of giving his bench player some playing time, but he said it is difficult at the moment without two of his regulars -- Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz -- in the lineup. Rollins is expected to be activated Monday after missing most of the season with a strained right calf. Ruiz could return to the lineup Monday after being out since Wednesday with a sprained ligament in his right knee.
"It's not my job to make the lineup," said Francisco, who had a combined 405 at-bats last season with Cleveland and Philadelphia. "My job is to go out there and play when I'm in the lineup."
Pirates left-hander Zach Duke (2-4, 5.56 ERA) pitches Tuesday against the Phillies, which would be the next opportunity for Francisco to start.
Happ looking to throw bullpen session
MILWAUKEE -- Phillies left-hander J.A. Happ hopes to throw in the bullpen early this week in Philadelphia.
Happ has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 16 with a left forearm injury. He has been playing catch and he said feels good about the progress he has made recently. He is not 100 percent healthy, but he is hopeful that will come soon.
It is too early to say when Happ could rejoin the rotation, but May is no longer a possibility.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.