Rosario has always had a live arm, and the Phillies spent a lot of time this spring scouting him. Gillick said he was pleased to see improved control.
"He threw more strikes," he said. "He's a guy we want to take a chance. Hopefully, it will work out. He doesn't have a very good record, but we think he's put it together."
In parts of eight Minor League seasons, Rosario went 20-26 with a 3.38 ERA in 148 games. He recored 478 strikeouts in 498 2/3 innings. He was designated for assignment last Friday, meaning the Blue Jays had 10 days to trade him, send him outright to the Minors or release him. The Phillies were believed to have paid $100,000 for Rosario.
He is expected to join the Phillies in Miami on Friday for the series opener against the Marlins. The Phils will make a roster move once he reports.
The learning curve:
Manager Charlie Manuel offered this explanation for Shane Victorino's day off: the outfielder left Spring Training with a stiff back, so he was rested the day game after a night game, and Manuel wanted to get Jayson Werth some at-bats.
But before offering that explanation, Manuel offered perhaps a more telling reason, by saying what it wasn't.
"It has nothing to do with the fact that I said Victorino made a mistake," Manuel said, referring to comments he made following Wednesday's loss to Atlanta. "It has absolutely nothing to do with that. [Thursday's Braves starter Chuck] James is left-handed, and I feel like Werth is a good matchup."
Victorino's baserunning mistake didn't cost the Phillies a win Wednesday night, but it prevented them from adding a third run that, it turned out, would have made the difference. With a plan to be more aggressive, Victorino was caught stealing third after he doubled in an insurance run.
It took a great throw from Atlanta catcher Brian McCann to cut Victorino down, but Manuel wished the speedy outfielder hadn't taken the chance, especially not with Ryan Howard and Chase Utley due up.
"That was a mistake," Manuel said. "I don't want him running there. If you're going to steal third base, you better be able to stand up. That's the old saying in baseball in a situation like that. He's at second base. He can score on a single. We don't want him out at third and erase the baserunner.
"Plus, we have two .300 hitters there."
Victorino understood that and took the day off in stride.
"It's their decision and that's what I was told," Victorino said. "I understand days off, but I come into each season wanting to play all 162 games."
Mistakes like the ones he made must be overcome, and the heady Victorino will become stronger as a result.
"He realizes what he has to do," said first-base coach Davey Lopes, who's been mentoring Victorino on the bases. "The situation dictates what you can and cannot do. That's basically how we go about it. I'm sure he's learned from this and it won't happen again, more than likely. We all make mistakes. That's why they put erasers on pencils."
The first jog:
It didn't matter that it was snowing. The cold didn't affect the bullpen phone.
So when bullpen coach Ramon Henderson answered it in the fifth inning, then pointed in Joe Bisenius' direction, the rookie's icey blue eyes darted out of his head.
"I jumped up and scrambled around there, ripped off three layers of coats," Bisenius said. "I didn't care that it was 150 degrees or 20 degrees, I got out there and got that first one over with, and it went OK."
Bisenius made his Major League debut in relief of Adam Eaton with two outs in the fifth. He allowed a double to Ryan Langerhans that allowed his two inherited runners to score, but got out of the inning when Langerhans was retired on the bases.
Bisenius whiffed two in a scoreless sixth. Since he has options remaining, the right-hander could be optioned to Triple-A Ottawa to make room for Rosario. For now, he'll savor the moment.
When Bisenius reached the mound, Manuel said something to him as he handed him the ball. What was it?
"I don't remember," he said. "I was in la-la land."
Like anyone who loves to compete, Braves players took notice of Jimmy Rollins, when he declared the Phillies the "team to beat."
"You say something like that, you're going to get everybody's attention," Braves second baseman Kelly Johnson said. "I think everybody has taken a lot of pride, as they should because everybody is a competitor."
Added Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones: "It bugged me for a little bit during Spring Training, but having thought about it, Jimmy is the leader of that club and different people use different methods to motivate people. He thought coming out and saying that would motivate his ballclub. It's not a big deal."
Freddy Garcia (right biceps tendinitis) pitched for Single-A Clearwater Thursday, allowing three hits and a walk, while struck out seven. He is expected to make another rehab start on April 15.
Rollins to don 42:
Rollins will wear a No. 42 jersey on April 15, as part of Major League Baseball's plan to honor Jackie Robinson on the 60th anniversary of his first game in the Major Leagues.
Lefty Jamie Moyer makes his season debut against the Marlins at Dolphin Stadium on Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET. The 44-year-old posted a 3.42 ERA in six Grapefruit League starts this spring. He is scheduled to oppose righty Sergo Mitre.