Phillies Notebook: Rollins' return to Phillies' starting lineup might take a while

Posted: September 15, 2010

MIAMI - Jimmy Rollins says he is day-to-day. But he is also realistic. And, realistically, hamstrings can take a long time to heal. Asked yesterday if he expected to return to the lineup by the end of the regular season, the shortstop was optimistic but noncommittal.

"I hope so," said Rollins, who has not played since leaving last Wednesday's win over the Marlins in the third inning with a sore right hamstring. "Studies show, even if it's a mild hamstring, even though the doctors like to say 7 to 10 days, it's usually 3 weeks. And that's at the mildest, before I can go and do what I need to do. But I'm not going to have 3 weeks. Three weeks, that puts us right at the playoffs, so I'm definitely going to try to do my best to come back before that."

Manager Charlie Manuel said yesterday he thought the switch-hitting Rollins would be available to pinch-hit from the left side. But it sounds like any such appearance likely would occur either in a last-ditch, Kirk Gibson-type situation, or in the early innings of a short outing from a starter when the Phillies do not want to burn a healthy hitter.

"I think I can, at least lefthanded," said Rollins, who has been limited to 82 games by calf and foot injuries in addition to the hamstring.

Prospect update

The knee-jerk point of view is that the Phillies' return on ace lefthander Cliff Lee has thus far included a righthander who led all organizational starters in walks-per-nine-innings, an outfielder battling a balky hamstring and a cocaine charge, and, after yesterday, a righthander recovering from hip surgery.

But one of the cardinal virtues of player development is patience. And after announcing that righthander J.C. Ramirez had undergone surgery to repair the labrum in his right hip, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. expressed plenty of it.

Of the trio of prospects the Phillies gained in return for Lee, only Ramirez lived up to expectations in his first year. Although the 22-year-old righthander finished the year with a mediocre 7-7 record and 4.82 ERA in 11 starts at Class A Clearwater and 13 at Double A Reading, he posted solid averages of 7.0 strikeouts per nine and 2.8 walks per nine.

Righthander Phillippe Aumont, 21, struggled with his command throughout the year, walking 6.9 batters per nine (with just 6.9 strikeouts per nine) in 11 starts at Reading before the Phillies sent him back to Clearwater. He finished the season 3-11 with a 5.68 ERA, 8.5 K/9 and 5.9 BB/9 at the two stops. Amaro said the Phillies could send Aumont back to the bullpen, where many project him in the majors, but have yet to make a change.

Outfielder Tyson Gillies, who turns 22 on Oct. 31, appeared in just 28 games - hitting .243 - thanks to a hamstring injury that continues to bother him. He also was charged with felony cocaine possession last month for an incident that occurred in June, when a police officer who had given him a ride home found a small bag of the drug on the back seat of the car after Gillies exited. Amaro said Gillies is not facing discipline from the club, at least at the moment.

"We've got a long way to go on them," Amaro said. "We still view them as strong prospects for us. But we'll see how they develop.''

Werth deal?

Ruben Amaro hasn't given up on re-signing Jayson Werth, despite a 2011 payroll that has at least $135.35 million committed to 16 players and a top prospect, Domonic Brown, waiting in the wings.

"As we've talked about before, we'd love to bring Jayson Werth back, and he obviously plays rightfield," Amaro said. "Nobody's giving Domonic Brown the job in rightfield next year."

Even though Werth is finishing up a second straight career year heading into a free-agent market that has paid similar players more than $15 million per year?

"It's possible," Amaro said, "Again, these are issues that we'll deal with in the offseason.''

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