Notes: Victorino's return delayed

Notes: Victorino's return delayed

PHILADELPHIA -- Shane Victorino's return from the disabled list will take a little longer than he would have liked.

The Phillies' right fielder will report to Double-A Reading on Tuesday for what will likely be a three-game rehab assignment. If all goes well, he could be activated as early as next Friday.

Victorino said he had hoped to begin his rehab assignment as early as Sunday, but club officials thought it best to wait.

"I just do what they said," said Victorino, who admitted he occasionally feels a grab in the injured right calf muscle. "I think they just want me to be 100 percent, nothing there."

Reading will begin a three-game set with Erie the day Victorino arrives. He could be activated when the Phillies play at Pittsburgh next weekend.

Victorino was racing to first base on July 30 against the Cubs when he pulled up lame with a small tear in his right calf. Had it been anyone else, they may have come back sooner.

But Victorino with a lame leg -- well, Barbaro comes to mind.

"Speed is my game," he said. "That's what my game's based on. It's not like I can go out there and jog."

Victorino said he fielded ground balls hit directly in front of him on Thursday. Some, inevitably, strayed to the side, but Victorino said he didn't have much trouble with the lateral movement.

He will likely be used as a designated hitter his first game with Reading, and then will determine whether he can play the field.

New-look Braves: The Braves came to Citizens Bank Park on Friday with some faces the Phillies hadn't seen earlier in the season.

Atlanta added slugger Mark Teixeira and reliever Octavio Dotel to quickly become the popular pick to represent the National League in the World Series.

Teixeira gives the Braves the bat they crave for the middle of their lineup and Dotel strengthens the bullpen.

The reliever was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder before Friday's game. But Atlanta still appears a tougher team than it was a month ago.

"The Braves are better in the bullpen and better in the lineup," manager Charlie Manuel said. "With [John] Smoltz and [Tim] Hudson, if they can get one or two other guys going consistently, they're going to be all right."

And the Phillies?

"We're bigger, we're slower and we swing and miss more," Manuel said.

Not that the Phillies got there by choice.

While the Braves' moves at the trade deadline were aimed at making them a force in October, the Phillies' moves were a result of injuries.

The latest was to bring in Russell Branyan from Cleveland to give Manuel another power option off the bench.

"You can use a guy like Wes [Helms] and [Abraham] Nunez and you still got a guy like Branyan on the bench," Victorino said. "It makes us that much better."

Familiar feel: The Phillies' last three series have happened to be against Helms' three former teams -- the Brewers, Marlins and Braves.

He got his start with Atlanta, and victimized his former team with a two-run homer in the first inning on Friday night.

Philling in: Pat Burrell has the best batting average of any Major Leaguer since July 1. He doubled in the first inning Friday. ... Children in the J-Roll's Reader Club met with Jimmy Rollins before Friday's game.

Coming up: Adam Eaton will try to overcome his recent early-inning struggles as he faces the Braves in a 7:05 p.m. start on Saturday. He'll oppose Braves righty Lance Cormier, who will be making his first appearance since struggling through two June starts.

Stephen Fastenau is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.