Former teammates Kyle Kendrick and J.A. Happ open a home-and-home series between the Phillies and Blue Jays on Monday at Citizens Bank Park.
Kendrick and Happ played together with the Phillies from 2007-10 before the Phillies traded Happ to Houston as part of the Roy Oswalt trade. Kendrick has been productive in five starts this season, posting a 3.52 ERA, while Happ makes his first start after losing his job in the rotation at the end of Spring Training. Happ, who takes the place of the injured Brandon Morrow, opened the season in the bullpen and has made three relief appearances, but he has not pitched since April 23.
"It's a little bit of a concern, but what are you going to do?" Happ said of the layoff. "I think when I go out there I'm going to try and forget about that and just focus on trying to execute."
Kendrick is pitching Monday because the Phillies skipped his spot in the rotation last week.
The teams meet Monday and Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park before heading to Toronto to play Wednesday and Thursday.
"It has been long enough I think that it's not a huge issue, but I definitely have a lot of great memories and an appreciation for that place," Happ said of pitching in Philadelphia. "It's a great place to play."
Blue Jays: Stroman gets the call
The future is now for Blue Jays prospect Marcus Stroman after he was officially promoted from Triple-A Buffalo on Sunday. Stroman is coming off an impressive month with the Bisons, as he posted a 1.69 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings.
Stroman, rated the club's No. 2 prospect by MLB.com, will most likely end up in the Blue Jays' starting rotation, but for now he will pitch out of the bullpen. The hard-throwing righty previously spent some time as a reliever at Duke and most recently in the Arizona Fall League.
"I'm just happy to be here," Stroman said before Sunday's game, where he made his debut by getting two outs while allowing a run in the eighth. "I've had experience in the bullpen, I'm not worried about it, I feel like I can come in; that's something I've done before in the past, and that's something I'm comfortable with, so it's not like it's completely new."
Phillies: Howard plays catch-up
First baseman Ryan Howard missed much of the past two seasons because of injuries to his left leg, but he has shown signs of life offensively through the first week of May.
He entered Sunday on pace to hit 34 home runs and 98 RBIs this season, numbers he has not approached since 2011.
"It's still a work in progress," he said. "I'm trying to progress every day and just try to get a little more comfortable."
• Former All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan on Friday signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Tigers. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery but could be ready to pitch by June. The Phillies need bullpen help, but Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. on Sunday would only say that they contacted Hanrahan's agent.
• Cole Hamels pitches Tuesday against the Blue Jays. He had been scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Nationals but was scratched because of the flu.
• Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista has reached base in all of Toronto's 31 games this season. That's the longest streak to begin a year since Cincinnati's Joey Votto accomplished the feat in 2011 over 33 games.
• The Blue Jays' bullpen entered play on Sunday with the second-worst WHIP in the Major Leagues at 1.56. They also had the second-worst walks per nine innings with 4.98 and the fifth-worst home run total of 12. Last year, Toronto had the ninth-lowest WHIP (1.23).
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.