Phillies Notebook: Phillies' Rollins takes paternity leave

Posted: April 04, 2014

ARLINGTON, Texas - Jimmy Rollins traveled on his own to Texas last weekend, as veteran players are allowed to do on off days in the never-ending baseball schedule.

Rollins thought it made more sense to stick in Philly for an extra day in the event that his pregnant wife went into labor. On Sunday afternoon, he saw the baby's arrival wasn't imminent, so Rollins booked a Sunday night flight to Dallas and was in the lineup on Opening Day on Monday.

Two days later, the baby's arrival appeared to be imminent.

Rollins left the team yesterday afternoon. Jayson Nix was penciled into Rollins' place at shortstop for last night's game against the Rangers.

With today's day off in the schedule, the Phillies don't have to make a roster move until tomorrow. Rollins likely will be placed on the paternity list then, where he can stay for between 1 and 3 days.

He may may miss the entirety of a three-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, which begins tomorrow.

"That could go either way," manager Ryne Sandberg said of the possibility of Rollins being out for the weekend. "It's yet to be seen, when the baby is delivered - we'll go from there."

Nix impressed Sandberg in his first 2 days with the team and isn't without shortstop experience; he started 41 games at shortstop in place of the injured Derek Jeter while with the New York Yankees last season. Nix was making his second straight start in the Phillies' infield; he started at third base on Tuesday.

"I thought he had three tough, tricky plays, he really did," Sandberg said. "He had some charging ones, some in-between plays, one with a drop-step to the five-hole. I thought he had three plays that were all good plays at the time, with men on base. I've admired his pregame. He's very steady, very professional, a very polished infielder."

The only other shortstop option on the current roster is Cesar Hernandez. But since Hernandez hasn't played shortstop in more than a game or two since 2007, Sandberg views him as an "emergency" shortstop.

When the Phillies make a roster move for Rollins' placement on the paternity list, catcher Cameron Rupp would likely be the addition, since he's the only position player on the 40-man roster with big-league experience. Rupp likely would be used strictly as a righthanded-hitting pinch-hitter.

Lee side session

Two days after his forgettable first Opening Day Phillies start, Cliff Lee threw a bullpen session yesterday afternoon at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

"Good - just like spring training," pitching coach Bob McClure said of the side session. "He was so accurate."

Lee had one of the worst starts of his career in a 14-10 Phillies win over the Rangers on Monday. It was the first game in his 13-year career in which he allowed at least 11 hits and eight runs.

"He just wasn't as accurate as he normally is, you know?" McClure said. "But it happens. It happens, it happens to everyone once in a while . . . You see the weirdest things on Opening Days, something you don't see often. Like [CC] Sabathia. He's had like six or seven Opening Day starts and in five of them he's given up five or more runs."

Sabathia, who has a 3.61 career ERA in 14 seasons, has a 5.80 ERA in 11 Opening Day starts. He is 0-3 with a 7.72 ERA in six season-opening starts with the Yankees.

Lee's start on Monday was his second Opening Day game. In his first - when he replaced Sabathia as the Cleveland Indians' Opening Day starter in 2009 - Lee gave up seven runs on 10 hits in five innings in a loss at Texas.

Lee had a 2.82 ERA in his next 21 starts with Cleveland before being dealt to the Phillies in late July.

Hamels rehab

Cole Hamels will begin his official rehab assignment on Sunday for Class A Clearwater. Hamels remains on track to rejoin the Phillies in late April.

He pitched into the fourth inning of an intrasquad exhibition game between Clearwater and Low-A Lakewood on Tuesday night at Bright House Field in Clearwater. It was his second game action after throwing in a minor league spring-training game on March 27.

"He looked good," Ryne Sandberg said. "He got his work in."

At the outset of spring training, Hamels said his arm and body are major league-game ready every year after four spring-training starts. If he throws four times in his official rehab, and doesn't suffer a setback, Hamels is likely to jump into the Phillies' rotation in the final week of April.

The Phillies don't need a fifth starter until a week from Sunday, on April 13, with Jeff Manship and Triple A righthander David Buchanan as current candidates to hold that role. If everyone remains on their regular day, the fifth starter's fourth start would be in line for April 29.

That may very well be the date Hamels makes his 2014 debut.

In other rehabbing Phillies news: reliever Mike Adams (shoulder surgery) will begin his official rehab at Class A Clearwater today. He remains in line for a return to the big-league bullpen in mid-April.

Freddy Galvis (infection) began baseball activities on Monday. Sandberg said Galvis would begin playing in extended spring games on Sunday.

Since the Phillies can manipulate extended-spring games - getting players extra at-bats, having pitchers go more than three outs in an inning - Galvis could be on a fast track back from the disabled list.

"We'll see how that goes," Sandberg said. "Whether it's six, seven, eight games, whatever is necessary . . . He could get 25 to 30 at-bats in a short amount of time."


On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21

Blog: ph.ly/HighCheese

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