PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel hinted last week in New York that Chase Utley might play the entire three-game series this weekend against the Atlanta Braves.
He did just that.
Manuel penciled Utley's name into the lineup in Sunday's series finale at Citizens Bank Park. It is the first time Utley has played three consecutive games since returning from the disabled list June 27. Perhaps it's a sign the Phillies are ready to increase Utley's workload. Or perhaps the Phillies simply felt they could play Utley a third consecutive day with the four-day All-Star break beginning Monday without risk to his chronically injured knees.
Either way, it was just the second time this season Utley and Ryan Howard had been in the lineup at the same time.
Manuel gives Victorino day off to clear head
PHILADELPHIA -- Shane Victorino seemed to get to the Phillies clubhouse a little later than normal Sunday morning at Citizens Bank Park.
Victorino, who typically is one of the first players to the ballpark, seemed down. He changed out of his T-shirt, but otherwise remained in street clothes as he quietly walked through the clubhouse, eventually packing his red Phillies travel bag for the team's trip to Colorado and Los Angeles after the All-Star break.
It seemed unusual behavior for the team's most talkative and energetic player.
Maybe an hour later, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel posted his lineup. Victorino was hitting seventh. But about an hour before the game, Manuel replaced Victorino in the lineup with center fielder Jason Pridie, who went 2-for-3 with a double, home run and three RBIs in a 4-3 loss to the Braves.
"When I talked to him, he was kind of hurting today and he was down," Manuel said. "He was down because of his performance. I decided to go with Pridie. I just scratched him and gave him a day off.
"I saw [Victorino] in the clubhouse, sitting beside his locker. I walked up and started talking to him. He was down, talking about his hitting, especially from the left side, things like that. He was down. He's got a lot on his mind, I guess."
Victorino is hitting .245 with 13 doubles, two triples, eight homers and 37 RBIs in 86 games this season. He is hitting 31 points below his career batting average, 30 points below his career on-base percentage and 63 points below his career slugging percentage.
That could explain a lot. Victorino is eligible to become a free agent after the season, and he could be traded before the end of the month. He is seeking a five-year contract from the Phillies, but they are almost certainly not going to go anywhere near that long.
Victorino was not available to comment after the game, but Manuel said speculation about Victorino being upset that he was hitting seventh -- a spot in which he had hit 31 times in his career -- was not true.
"That's the first thing I asked him," Manuel said. "He said absolutely not."
Halladay may be on track for Thursday rehab start
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay could make a rehab start Thursday with Class A Clearwater.
He is headed to Florida after Sunday's series finale against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park. Halladay, who has been on the disabled list since May 18 because of a strained right latissimus dorsi, is scheduled to throw his fourth bullpen session Tuesday in Clearwater. If that goes well, he would make a rehab start Thursday.
Halladay could rejoin the Phillies' rotation in time for the July 16-18 series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
Manuel responds to questions about job status
PHILADELPHIA -- General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week that Charlie Manuel has done a "fantastic job" as Phillies manager.
In fact, he said he should not even have to answer questions about Manuel's job status.
"We haven't played well," Amaro said.
But with the Phillies taking a 37-50 record into the All-Star break, the heat is being turned up on everybody. So Manuel was asked Sunday at Citizens Bank Park if he is concerned he might take the fall for the team's disappointing play.
"How concerned am I? I've got a lot of confidence in myself," said Manuel, whose contract runs through next season. "And I am a fighter. And not only that, I think I'm a winner."
Manuel then presented the places he has won as a player and manager, both in the big leagues, Minor Leagues and Japan.
"I've been a winner ever since I've been in the game," he said. "I've got a lot of confidence. I'll do my job as hard as I possibly can, and as hard as I possibly can, and that's all I can do. The rest is out of my control."
Papelbon restrains unruly fan at bullpen fence
PHILADELPHIA -- A fan ran onto the field and tried to scale the center-field fence to enter the Phillies' bullpen late in Saturday's 6-3 loss to the Braves.
That's as far as he got.
Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon hopped up from his seat on the bench in the bullpen and held the fan at the fence until security arrived.
"I just reacted," he said. "I didn't want him coming into the bullpen, doing something stupid or crazy. I was just trying to help out security. I didn't see security."
It wasn't the first time Papelbon had seen that happen. He said fans have leaped into the Red Sox bullpen at Fenway Park.
"It's not anything new," he said.
So Papelbon just grabbed the fan and held him until security arrived?
"I put him in a sleeper hold," he said. "That's about it."
Did he say anything?
"He just went, 'Aggggh,'" he said, mimicking a choking sound.
The Phillies lost 60 games last season, when they won a franchise-record 102 games. They entered Sunday's series finale with 49 losses.
This is just the fourth time in 15 seasons that the Phillies will enter the All-Star break with a losing record. It also happened in 2000 (39-47), 2002 (39-47) and 2006 (40-47).
The Phillies entered Sunday with just 12 hits in their last 62 at-bats (.194) with runners in scoring position.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.