PITTSBURGH -- Phillies right-hander Vance Worley has always had a healthy dose of confidence in his abilities.
But he said he feels no more relaxed or no more comfortable than he felt last season, when he found himself pitching in a once-in-a-lifetime rotation because of injuries to Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton. Worley, who went 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA and finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year vote, makes his 2012 debut Sunday afternoon against the Pirates at PNC Park.
"It's no different," he said Saturday. "I'm not going to assume I have the job won. I'm going to have to continue to earn that spot."
That feeling might provide Worley a little extra push on the mound, but in reality, he has established himself as the team's No. 4 starter, although he is pitching third out of the gate. The Phillies have Cole Hamels pitching the home opener Monday at Citizens Bank Park.
One off-the-field example of how life has changed for Worley? Last year at this time, he only had a couple pairs of his trademark Oakley prescription glasses, because he had to pay for them out of pocket.
Now Oakley sent him five pairs -- on the house.
"I'm coming up in the world," Worley joked.
Nix at first shows Manuel will mix and match
PITTSBURGH -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel continues to offer up a minor surprise or two with his lineup.
He started John Mayberry Jr. in left field and Ty Wigginton at first base in Thursday's season opener after he seemed to be leaning toward playing Juan Pierre in left field. Then on Saturday, he played Laynce Nix at first base.
Nix had started just six career games at first base.
Manuel said he had Nix hit fifth, because he wanted to split up the right-handed-hitting Hunter Pence and Mayberry against Pirates right-hander Jeff Karstens. Manuel also wanted to keep Mayberry, who is an option at first base, in left field.
Asked if he thought about playing Jim Thome at first base, Manuel said, "Yeah, I thought about playing Thome. I think about him every day. I'll play Thome when I want to."
It would not be a surprise to see Thome starting at first base in Monday's home opener.
Schneider set to catch Worley in series finale
PITTSBURGH -- Expect Brian Schneider to be behind the plate Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.
Schneider caught Vance Worley in 18 of his 25 appearances last season, but don't call him Worley's personal catcher. Manager Charlie Manuel hates the term. He said Schneider is starting because Sunday is a day game following a night game, and because Monday is a day game in Philadelphia.
"I've heard people say they like the catcher, they like the catcher," Manuel said. "But lose some games and see what happens."
Ryan Howard, who is sidelined following complications from left Achilles surgery, continued receiving treatment in Philadelphia. He is scheduled to see foot and ankle specialist Mark Myerson in Baltimore on Tuesday.
Right-hander Jose Contreras, who is rehabbing from right elbow surgery, threw one inning in a rehab appearance with Class A Clearwater. He struck out two, throwing seven pitches (seven strikes).
The Phillies' 1-0 victory on Opening Day was their 13th shutout victory in franchise history on Opening Day, and their first since a 3-0 victory over Los Angeles in 1997. It was the team's third 1-0 victory on Opening Day. The others were in 1913 and 1930.
Elias Sports Bureau said the 1-0 victory was only the third time in the last 30 seasons the Phillies won a 1-0 game on a sacrifice fly. Carlos Ruiz, who's sacrifice fly scored the winning run Thursday, joined Kevin Elster (Sept. 6, 1995) and David Bell (July 9, 2005).
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.