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Evening Shade: Rollins returns to Phillies, just as Utley leaves

Big League Stew

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Most weekday evenings, the Stew looks at a few approaching games that will be worth monitoring and mixes it with some light baseball reading. Discuss the night's happenings in the comments below.

Pirates at Phillies, 7:05 ET Someday, the Phillies will be whole again. Just as shortstop Jimmy Rollins(notes) returns from a strained right calf that had kept him sidelined since April 13, second baseman Chase Utley(notes) is out sick with the flu. As long as the weather holds in Philly, Rollins will bat third against right-hander Charlie Morton(notes).

Manager Charlie Manuel, last night in Milwaukee, on what Rollins means to the Phillies:

"What we missed is that Jimmy is an all-around player," Manuel said. "You can't put his value in one area. He can run. He can throw. He's a switch-hitter. He can steal bases. He can make deep throws on the cutoff. He can play defense. He's an all-around player. He's one of the better players in the league. Yeah, we've missed him. Our lineup is better with Jimmy in there."

Here's the 701 Level's profane take on all of this. By the way, catcher Carlos Ruiz(notes) also returns to the lineup after missing three games after tweaking his right knee.

• To make room on the roster for Rollins, Wilson Valdez(notes) has been designated for assignment.

Mets at Braves, 6:10 ET Amazins' front-office honcho Jeff Wilpon made the trip to Hotlanta, so everyone assumed that manager Jerry Manuel was on the hot seat. Later on, Wilpon, general manager Omar Minaya, Mr. Met, Ed Kranepool and Manuel had a closed-door meeting. Oh, noes! Yet, Manuel emerged from his office with his uniform still on, cracking jokes.

Nationals at Cardinals, 8:15 ET Gasp! Albert Pujols(notes), for the first time since May 30, 2003, is batting cleanup in the starting lineup. He usually hits third — for 1,046 games, in fact. The previous No. 3 hitter for the Redbirds was Eduardo Perez(notes), but Pujols was and is better. Hopefully for St. Louis, El Albert will adapt to the change and not bite reporters hands at the postgame press conference.

Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 ET Because we're bound by law to mention them.

Nick Johnson(notes) will not be appearing, due to wrist surgery.

Mariners at Athletics, 10:05 ET There's an old saying that you can't win if you don't score. These offensively challenged clubs will litmus the heck out of that test.

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