Game 98 open thread: The Return of J.A. Happ

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Starter J.A. Happ pitches for the Phillies today for the first time since April. (AP Photo/Dave Einsel)

The Phillies would love to acquire another starting pitcher before Saturday's trading deadline. Today, they will welcome back a pitcher who hasn't started since April 15 and could play a role in the deadline moves.

J.A. Happ makes his return to the Phillies against Colorado as the Phillies look to extend their three-game winning streak. Happ, who won 12 games as runner-up Rookie of the Year in 2009, was slowed earlier in the season with an elbow strain. Then, when the results still didn't come during Happ's rehab assignment, the Phillies chose to demote the lefthander to triple A.

Since then, Happ has not spoken to reporters.

Obviously, the 27-year-old takes the mound today with a grudge, much like Kyle Kendrick did Saturday. Here's the thing: Happ could be showcasing himself for another team today. If the Phillies are to acquire Roy Oswalt or Dan Haren, Happ is a definite possibility to be included in the package of players going the other way. Both the Astros and Diamondbacks would like young, major-league ready pitching. Happ is about all the Phillies have in that category.

And even if Happ isn't traded, he still could be a key part of their plans for the final 64 games of the season.

A lineup note: Ben Francisco starts in left field again. It's the ninth time in the last 10 games the Phillies have faced a lefthanded starter and Francisco has started. But Charlie Manuel has said it's no platoon between Raul Ibanez and Francisco. Hmm..

Talk about the game here. Follow me on Twitter (@magelb) for updates.

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