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04/12/12 12:44 PM ET

Phillips not likely to return until weekend

WASHINGTON -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips remained unavailable for the third straight game on Thursday because of a sore left hamstring.

Phillips has not played since he left Monday's game against the Cardinals with a hamstring cramp.

"I was tempted yesterday, but couldn't do it," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Two outs, bases loaded [in the fifth inning], and that would have been the time to use him. At that time, the risk wasn't worth the game, if there is one."

Cold temperatures in Washington also made Baker hesitant to use Phillips. Washington was expecting temps in the upper 50s to 60 for the first two days of the series. According to weather.com, temperatures should rise into the mid-70s and low 80s for a few days, starting on Saturday.

"He'll come in probably lobbying, probably smiling," Baker said. "I'm guessing maybe Saturday or Sunday, maybe. It's supposed to warm up those two days."

Chapman getting some rest after early action

WASHINGTON -- There aren't a set of special "Chapman Rules," formally in place on how much to use young Reds lefty Aroldis Chapman. But common sense dictated that Chapman would not be available on Thursday vs. the Nationals.

Chapman pitched two scoreless innings with five strikeouts Wednesday to earn the victory against the Cardinals. He also threw 35 pitches, which had Reds manager Dusty Baker thinking that Chapman might not be available on Friday as well.

"If he had gone one inning, it'd be a different story. He'd be available today," Baker said. "We treat him like every other reliever, but we have a lot invested in the guy --time, future and money. We're always aware of that."

Baker noted that the team did not have other relievers available in recent days -- such as Alfredo Simon on Wednesday and Logan Ondrusek on Monday.

"Especially this early when guys are still trying to get acclimated to back-to-back days and the workload," Baker said.

Chapman, the 24-year-old Cuban phenom, was the Reds' best starter in Spring Training when he competed for the fifth spot in the rotation. Because of circumstances and bullpen injuries, he was the team's best reliever during the first homestand.

In his three games, Chapman is 2-0 with five scoreless innings. He's allowed two hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. Both victories came in two-inning appearances, as the Reds are taking good advantage of an arm stretched out from starting all spring.

The question that begs is whether the extended outings make it easier to make Chapman a starter again should the club want him in the rotation.

"That's not the real thought process, but logically speaking, it's possible," Baker said. "Just think how valuable he's been where he is. We've got three victories, and he's got two of them, and a hold. It's not that you want to continue this trend, but you take these victories when you can, especially early."

Speaking through his interpreter, Chapman was fine with his current role as the primary lefty setup man.

"I feel great. I feel happy the way it is," Chapman said. "I'm prepared to be a starter, but they decided to put me in the bullpen. And that's the job I am doing."

Worth noting

• Reds reliever Ryan Madson had successful Tommy John surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on Wednesday. Dr. Lewis Yocum performed the surgery in Los Angeles.

• Thursday was the Nationals' home opener. It marked the first time that the Reds were part of that franchise's home opener in either Montreal or Washington.

• U.S. Army veteran and "Dancing with the Stars" champion J.R. Martinez threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Thursday's game.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.