Series preview: Reds at Philadelphia

The Reds travel to Philadelphia to start a four-game series tonight.  Both teams have news on a high-profile player who is on the mend.


Here are the team reports for the Reds and the Phillies;


CINCINNATI REDS


Left-hander Aroldis Chapman, on the disabled list due to left shoulder inflammation, will begin a rehab assignment with Class AAA Louisville on Monday.


“His (minimum DL) time is up at the end of month,” pitching coach Bryan Price said before Sunday’s 12-4 loss to the Indians. “Hopefully, he can get three outings in with Louisville and be ready to go.”


Price has worked with Chapman on his delivery.


“He threw close to game speed Friday,” Price said. “We’re trying to get to delivery to point where it doesn’t exacerbate the shoulder and cause inflammation.”


Chapman was over-rotating his front shoulder, Price said.


“When they timing isn’t great, it’s too much to ask of the shoulder, especially with a long-armed guy and a hard thrower,” he said.


Chapman seems to have corrected the problem.


“On the side and flat ground, it’s as well as I’ve seen him throw,” Price said. “With hitters and adrenaline, we’ll see.”


NOTES, QUOTES


–LF Jonny Gomes was out of the lineup Sunday after two days in the No. 2 slot. Gomes’ average is down to .171. He went 0-for-8 in the second spot. He struck out three times Saturday.


–SS Paul Janish entered Sunday 1-for-his-last-26. His average is down to .230.


–RHP Jordan Smith allowed four runs on four hits Sunday. He’s allowed six runs on nine hits since being recalled from Class AAA Louisville.


–INF Miguel Cairo has played 55 games in his career at shortstop. But Reds manager Dusty Baker will not use him there, even with Paul Janish and Edgar Renteria struggling at the plate. “He can’t play everywhere. He’s already playing third, second, first. He hasn’t played much short in his career. Plus, how old is he?” Baker said of the 36-year-old Cairo. “He’s been around a long time. I’ve got two shortstops.”


–RHP Edinson Volquez has allowed 21 runs (20 earned) in the first innings of his 10 starts. His ERA after the first is 3.51. Volquez went 2 2/3 innings Sunday and allowed seven runs (six earned) on seven hits.


BY THE NUMBERS: 8 — The Reds have lost eight straight in Philadelphia, where they open a four-game series Monday. They were swept in four games there last year and lost both games of the National League Division Series.


QUOTE TO NOTE: “When he was first struggling, he was almost despondent. When you’re not throwing strikes and walking people, you’re not giving yourself a chance. It’s an almost helpless feeling.” — Pitching coach Bryan Price on left-hander Aroldis Chapman.


ROSTER REPORT
MEDICAL WATCH:


–LHP Aroldis Chapman (left shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list May 16. He threw off a mound May 20, and he is expected to start a rehab assignment with Class AAA Louisville on May 23.


–RHP Jared Burton (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 29. He suffered a setback in early April, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 18. He underwent arthroscopic surgery April 22, and the timetable for his return was unknown.


PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES


Chase Utley’s return should help a sinking Phillies offense. Thankfully for Charlie Manuel, the wait is over: Utley is due back in the team’s lineup Monday.


Following a 2-0 defeat to the Texas Rangers on Sunday, the ninth straight game the Phillies were held to three runs or less, the team announced they would activate Utley from the disabled list on Monday. Utley has been sidelined for the first 46 games of the season with right knee tendinitis and chondromalacia.


“I’m excited to have him back,” Manuel said. “He’s one of our top hitters. Once we get Chase and (Shane) Victorino back in there, our lineup is going to be much better. We’ll get better. They have to help us.”


Utley was back in the Phillies clubhouse Sunday morning following a nine-game rehab assignment at Class A Clearwater. Utley hit .281 with one home run and four RBI in nine games with the Threshers. Any offense he could provide the Phillies would be a boost.


Despite taking two of three from the Rangers, the Phils scored five runs in the three game series and have scored just 10 runs in their last seven games. The Phils have been shut out four times in 46 games this season, on pace to break last season’s futile mark of 11 shutouts in 162 games.


“We’re going to hit, we’re going to hit better — we’re going to bottom out one of these days,” Manuel said. “Hopefully it was today.”


“I think we’ve hit some balls pretty good of late, I think there are signs of life,” Raul Ibanez said on whether one player can turn a team around. “I think it’s a nice boost when you add Chase Utley to your lineup.”


NOTES, QUOTES


–2B Chase Utley will make his 2011 debut Monday night against the Cincinnati Reds. Utley returned from a minor league rehab assignment at Class A Clearwater on Sunday morning. Following the Phillies’ 2-0 loss to the Texas Rangers, the Phillies announced they will activate Utley prior to Monday’s game.


“I’m excited to have him back,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “He’s one of our top hitters. Once we get Chase and (Shane) Victorino back in there, our lineup is going to be much better. We’ll get better. They have to help us.”


–2B Pete Orr was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to make room on the active roster for Chase Utley, who will be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Monday. Orr, signed as a minor league free agent this winter, hit .230 in 26 games while sharing playing time at second with Wilson Valdez. Orr started 16 games this season.


“It sucks, but it’s a part of the game,” Orr said while packing his things Sunday.


–RHP Ryan Madson was unavailable to pitch Sunday while nursing a bruised right hand. Madson, who has recorded the save in each of the last seven Phillies wins, was hit in the hand by a comebacker on Friday night. He remained in the game and also pitched a scoreless inning of relief Saturday.


“It’s just a little tender, it should be fine,” Madson said. “It’s just a little stiff.”


–LHP Cliff Lee snapped a six-start winless streak by pitching eight shutout innings in the Phillies’ 2-0 win over the Texas Rangers on Sunday. But he also accomplished something that hadn’t been done in 50 years.


According to Elias, when Lee struck out 10 batters, he became just the second pitcher in baseball history and the first since Ryne Duren in 1961 to collect a double-digit strikeout game against the team he pitched for the previous season in the World Series.


On June 28, 1961, Duren, pitching for the Angels, struck out 12 Yankees batters. Duren pitched for New York in the 1960 World Series.


–RHP Joe Blanton will officially be placed on the disabled list Monday with right elbow inflammation. Blanton was scratched from his most recent scheduled start, Thursday against the Rockies, minutes before the first pitch.


Blanton was 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts after his first trip to the disabled list, but has continued to try to pitch through elbow pain. Vance Worley, who was 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA while filling in for Blanton earlier this season, will replace Blanton on the roster and start Tuesday night against Cincinnati.


BY THE NUMBERS: 27 — Times in 46 games this season that the Phillies have been held to three or fewer runs. The Phils lost 2-0 to the Texas Rangers on Sunday, marking the ninth straight game they have scored under four runs. The Phils have scored 10 runs in their last seven games.


QUOTE TO NOTE: “We’re going to hit; we’re going to hit better. We’re going to bottom out one of these days. Hopefully it was today.” — Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, after his team was shut out for the fourth time and held to three or fewer runs for the ninth straight game in a 2-0 loss to the Texas Rangers.


ROSTER REPORT
MEDICAL WATCH:


–2B Chase Utley (right knee tendinitis) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He didn’t appear in an exhibition game this spring. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Clearwater on May 10. He was activated May 23.


–CF Shane Victorino (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 19.


–RHP Joe Blanton (sore right elbow) was scratched from his May 19 start. He was scheduled to have an MRI, and he will officially be placed on the disabled list May 23.


–RHP Ryan Madson (bruised right hand) was unavailable to pitch May 22. Madson was hit in the hand by a comebacker on May 20.


–C Brian Schneider (left hamstring strain) went on the 15-day disabled list May 12.


–RHP Jose Contreras (elbow strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 22. He began a throwing program by playing long-toss May 5 and was scheduled to start a rehab assignment May 18. He pitched a scoreless inning of relief at Class AA Reading (Pa.) May 21, and was expected to pitch in at least one more minor league rehab game before being activated.


–RHP Brad Lidge (right posterior rotator cuff strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 25, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 29. He began a throwing program April 30. He threw his second bullpen session in three days on May 22. He is hoping for a mid-June return.