ATLANTA --Charlie Manuel is optimistic about the tightness in J.A. Happ's forearm that forced the Phillies to push back the lefthander's scheduled start Wednesday against the Atlanta Braves.
"As I understand it, he had like a charley horse," Manuel said. "If I hit you (with some force), you'll get a little frog on your arm and then it gets real sore. That's kind of what he has."
Happ, on the other hand, is being cautious for good reason: he has experienced this injury before.
"Yes I have and it's not very good," Happ said. "I know what it can do and I know that it can be a kind of debilitating-type injury."
The last time Happ experienced similar pain was at the end of the 2007 season when he pitched all but one game at triple-A Ottawa. At the end of that season, he was scheduled to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, but that assignment was scrapped because of the forearm injury.
Both Manuel and Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said they planned to be careful with Happ, who is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Thursday at Turner Field.
"If he feels pain or something when he throws or it kind of grabs him, I would say skip him until his arm gets free and loose," Manuel said. "The whole purpose of skipping someone is we want to get them 100 percent."
Amaro said he doesn't remember if the Phillies performed an MRI on Happ's left elbow in 2007, but they did perform one Monday and Amaro said team physician Michael Ciccotti described the injury as "a very mild flexor pronator muscle strain."
Happ walked six in his last outing against Washington April 15 and reported the injury afterward.
"It was a little bit stiff in between my two starts, but the first time I really felt it was during the game," Happ said. "It's frustrating more than anything, but I hope it keeps progressing and I'll throw a bullpen Thursday and if things go well there, we can stay on schedule."
That exact schedule is not clear, although it's possible he could pitch Saturday against the Diamondbacks in Arizona if his bullpen session goes well.
"It did get better after I got some heat and stuff on it, so I think that's a good sign," Happ said. "It's progressing. It just needs to continue. You definitely can do more damage and that's why it is frustrating.