PHILADELPHIA -- Charlie Manuel had serious concerns during Spring Training about the third and fifth spots in his lineup.
Who would replace Chase Utley while he is on the disabled list?
Who would hit behind Ryan Howard with Jayson Werth in Washington?
It is just three games, but Jimmy Rollins, Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez have acquitted themselves quite nicely. Rollins finished the three-game sweep of the Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park hitting .500 (6-for-12) with four runs scored, two walks and one stolen base. Francisco hit .462 (6-for-13) with one double, one home run, four RBIs, four runs scored and one walk. Ibanez hit just .182 (2-for-11), but he had one double, three RBIs, three walks and three runs scored.
Rollins has looked pretty comfortable hitting third.
"I think a lot of people kind of wrote him off a little bit," Howard said. "They're trying to say that he's old, or from last year, he's lost this, he's lost that, people are talking about him declining. Sometimes people have off years. Sometimes people get hurt. So I think Jimmy's going to open up a lot of people's eyes. If he just has his normal year, he'll be fine."
"Jimmy has hit third before," Manuel said. "He's never been left in the third hole for a long period of time, but he can hit there."
Victorino rests sore calf; Martinez debuts
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel walked through the Phillies' clubhouse early Sunday morning and spotted Michael Martinez at his locker.
"What do you think?" he said.
Martinez offered a nervous chuckle.
Martinez, who made the Opening Day roster as a Rule 5 Draft pick, learned he would make his Major League debut Sunday when Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin walked past him a few minutes earlier and told him in Spanish he would be leading off. Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino had pulled himself from Saturday's game because of soreness in his left calf, and the Phillies wanted to give him time to rest.
But not too much time. Victorino pinch-hit for Roy Oswalt in the sixth inning of the 7-3 victory and remained in the game in center field. Victorino said he felt fine after the game.
Martinez went 1-for-4 with one RBI and two strikeouts.
"I still feel it in the certain area," Victorino said before the game. "My strength is there. We're just trying to find out what's causing that sensation."
Victorino said it could be an irritated nerve.
"I'm not alarmed," he said. "None of us are alarmed."
Martinez made the Opening Day roster in part because he can play center field. But he probably did not expect his first time in center field to come so soon. Manuel said he had Martinez lead off because the rest of his lineup had been hitting well and he didn't want to change anything.
"I'm not superstitious, but I just felt like doing that," Manuel said.
Francisco knocks out Padres in catch vs. Astros
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies right fielder Ben Francisco crashed into the right-field wall to make a catch in the fourth inning Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.
He hit the chain-link fence so hard it knocked out the "SD" panel on the scoreboard, which stood for the San Diego Padres.
"You're not worried about the wall," Francisco said. "You're just trying to catch the ball."
Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard had four RBIs Sunday to move past Willie "Puddin' Head" Jones for 11th place on the franchise's all-time RBI list. Howard has 754 RBIs. Jones had 753. ... Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, who is on the disabled list because of chronic knee pain, continues to take light fielding practice. It remains unlikely Utley returns before the end of the month, but he said last week in Florida he hoped to return before the All-Star break. ... Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee struck out 11 batters and walked none in Saturday's 9-4 victory over the Houston Astros. It was the fifth time in Lee's career he has struck out 10 or more batters without a walk. All of those games have happened since the beginning of the 2008 season, which, according Elias Sports Bureau, leads MLB during that time. ... The Phillies overcame a four-run deficit to beat the Astros on Opening Day on Friday. According to Elias Sports Bureau, it was the third time in franchise history that happened. Brooklyn had a 4-0 lead over the Phillies before Philadelphia rallied to win, 12-8, in 1905. The Phillies overcame a 6-0 deficit against Baltimore before they won, 7-6, in 1895. ... The Phillies released left-hander Dan Meyer from Minor League camp Sunday. They released right-hander Matt Anderson from Minor League camp Saturday.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.