Phillies' lineup taking shape nicely

Phillies' lineup taking shape nicely

Phillies' lineup taking shape nicely
PHILADELPHIA -- Charlie Manuel had serious concerns during Spring Training about the third and fifth spots in his lineup.

Who would replace Chase Utley while he is on the disabled list?

Who would hit behind Ryan Howard with Jayson Werth in Washington?

It is just three games, but Jimmy Rollins, Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez have acquitted themselves quite nicely. Rollins finished the three-game sweep of the Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park hitting .500 (6-for-12) with four runs scored, two walks and one stolen base. Francisco hit .462 (6-for-13) with one double, one home run, four RBIs, four runs scored and one walk. Ibanez hit just .182 (2-for-11), but he had one double, three RBIs, three walks and three runs scored.

Rollins has looked pretty comfortable hitting third.

"I think a lot of people kind of wrote him off a little bit," Howard said. "They're trying to say that he's old, or from last year, he's lost this, he's lost that, people are talking about him declining. Sometimes people have off years. Sometimes people get hurt. So I think Jimmy's going to open up a lot of people's eyes. If he just has his normal year, he'll be fine."

"Jimmy has hit third before," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's never been left in the third hole for a long period of time, but he can hit there."