Phillies Notes

Charlie Manuel

said Friday that

Ryan Howard

would be in the Phillies' lineup last night against Florida Marlins lefthander

Dontrelle Willis


But the manager changed his mind. Manuel said he talked with Howard after Friday night's 6-5 victory and decided to rest him instead. He shuffled the lineup as a result, with Aaron Rowand leading off and Jimmy Rollins hitting third.

"I think this is a good time to get him a break," Manuel said of Howard, who is hitting .217 with three home runs and 12 RBIs and just .148 (4 for 27) against lefthanders. "I think this might help his [leg]."

Howard missed three games April 19 to 21 with a sprained ligament below his left knee.

Power surge?

Rollins entered last night with a National League-leading nine home runs. He had hit 22 homers in his last 80 games.

"I don't want to talk about it," Manuel said with a laugh. "I just want to let him go."

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Tom Gordon

has a 4.41 ERA in 18 appearances since he returned from the disabled list from a strained right shoulder Sept. 3. He is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in eight appearances this season. He also has blown three of seven save opportunities for the worst save percentage (57.1 percent) in the National League.

Manuel is sticking with Gordon as his closer.

"His stuff is getting better," he said.

Respects for a fan

The Phillies sent the Virginia Tech cap that Manuel wore April 18 in Washington to the family of

Mike Pohle,

one of the students killed in the massacre at the school. According to a story in the Washington Post, Pohle, from Raritan Township, N.J., was a huge Phillies fan and even slept in a Phillies jersey.

Manuel autographed the cap and sent the family a letter.

Extra bases

Freddy Garcia

prides himself on being a workhorse, but so far the righthander has not been one. In three starts, he has not pitched more than five innings. He lasted 42/3 innings Friday. "That's not me," Garcia said. "I'm not the guy who goes out there and pitches five innings." . . . The Phillies and Marlins had a hit in every inning Friday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that's the first time that has happened since Aug. 4, 2001, when Seattle and Cleveland accomplished the feat at Jacobs Field. Coincidentally, Garcia started that game for the Mariners and Manuel was managing the Indians.

- Todd Zolecki