A rundown of today's top stories, including the possible mid-season return of a three-time Cy Young winner and Beerleaguer playing the role of conspiracy theorist.
Pedro: General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told ESPN Deportes' Will Gonzalez yesterday that the Phillies are negotiating with Pedro Martinez about another midseason return. The two sides have kept in contact this entire offseason, the last reported update occurring in late January when Amaro acknowledged a mutual interest, but differences in terms of what the two sides expected out of the arrangement.
Rollins: According to the Phillies, Jimmy Rollins suffered a calf injury during warm-ups and was a late scratch before yesterday’s home opener. That’s the official story. The unofficial word, according to speculation that swirled during and after the game – including the Comcast postgame - was that J-Roll was late to the park again. That story can be traced back to at least one reputable source, CBS3.com, who sent out an alert saying "Jimmy Rollins Late, Scratched From Phillies' Lineup" minutes into the game.
Rollins, who appeared fine in pre-game warm-ups and during the opening ceremony, wasn’t available to the media to discuss the severity of the injury, which will be determined by an MRI today. The late scratch, occurring after lineups were officially announced, meant the Phillies were short a player off the bench. Juan Castro got the start and produced a mixed bag, bobbling a fairly routine play at short, but also pounding a key two-run double into the gap in deep left center. The 6-1 Phillies roared back from a 4-0 deficit to beat Washington 7-4, their best start since the 1993 season.
It’s worth mentioning that Rollins had been scheduled to appear in a Red Bull promo today, which has now been postponed. Last week, the Phillies shortstop appeared on Dan Patrick’s national radio show and was asked his take on why the Phillies traded Cliff Lee. "I have no idea," Rollins said. "I'm sure we could afford him (Lee). We turned nearly four million people through the turnstiles last year. I don't know. You should have (Phillies GM) Ruben (Amaro) on here."
Something stinks. I don't know what. When I know, I'll be sure pass it along. Be that as it may, the aftermath of this isn't to be taken lightly. Rollins, who is off to a hot start, took months to recover from a high ankle sprain that sidelined him in early '08 and calf injuries can be very tough to mend. Depending on the outcome, this could linger deep into the summer.
Werth: Jayson Werth was removed from the game for precautionary reasons with some kind of hip injury, but it doesn’t sounds serious.
Hamels: All things considered, Cole Hamels was slightly better than his last start despite more middling results (5 2-3 innings, 4 ER, 6 K, 1 BB). He had better control and appeared to have slightly better stuff, including a couple of good curveballs mixed with a couple not-so-good curveballs. Actually, the thing that bugs me most is that his fastball is so true. It never had much movement to begin with, even in 2008, but now there’s absolutely none. He can't afford to miss with it even by a hair. And is it me, or does his delivery seem more fluid than it used to be? I guess that’s a good thing, but I wonder if it’s zapped away some of the deception ...Other notes: The bullpen earned Chevrolet Player of the Game honors as a group for 3 1-3 shutout innings, with Ryan Madson pitching a standout ninth for his second save.