Tag:Jimmy Rollins
Posted on: January 24, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2011 1:55 pm

Manuel likes Rollins to lead off

Jimmy Rollins
With Jimmy Rollins hobbled for much of the 2010 season, Shane Victorino got the nod at the top of the batting order most of the time for the Phillies last season. Manager Charlie Manuel says, however, that he's inclined to have Rollins batting first next season.

"I have always [looked] at Jimmy as a leadoff guy," Manuel said Monday in a radio interview, as relayed by the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I think Jimmy is a very intelligent player. I'm not saying Victorino won't lead off for us. He would be our next option."

Rollins played in just 88 games last season, leaving Victorino as the leadoff man 82 times. Victorino batted .276 in the leadoff spot and .234 elsewhere in the lineup, but posted the lowest on-base percentage of any full season in his career. Rollins similarly bats better in the leadoff spot, where he's played the vast majority of his career games. Manuel said he could see moving Rollins around and even using him in the No. 5 spot, where Jayson Werth's departure has left a big hole.

"First of all, I think Jimmy could hit first, second, third, fifth, sixth or even fourth for a couple of days," Manuel said. "Listen, I take a lot of pride in our hitting and we're going to find somebody to hit fifth. We have some good candidates. I guarantee you we're going to get some production from that spot."

Of course, Rollins' effectiveness at any spot in the lineup is going to depend on his ability to bounce back from leg and wrist injuries and show that he's closer to the guy who won the 2007 MVP than the .248 hitter he's been the past two seasons.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: December 14, 2010 9:17 am
Edited on: December 14, 2010 10:50 am

Winners and losers in Lee aftermath

Cliff Lee What in the world of Mike Cuellar is going on?

By adding Cliff Lee to the already-potent Roy Halladay-Roy Oswalt-Cole Hamels top of the rotation, the Phillies potentially have the best top of the rotation since the Orioles had four 20-game winners in 1971 with Cuellar, Pat Dobson, Jim Palmer and Dave McNally.

It's certainly the best rotation since the mid-90s Braves that featured Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, followed by someone like Steve Avery or Denny Neagle.

The bad news for the Phillies is that it wasn't starting pitching that let them down in October. It was not scoring enough runs against quality starting pitching from the Giants.

As for the offense, how has that changed? Jayson Werth, the team's best offensive player last season, is gone. Raul Ibanez and Placido Polanco are a year older -- and Jimmy Rollins seems to age two years for every year nowadays. He's not been the same player the last two years that he was before. There are also emerging questions about Chase Utley. And then there's Ryan Howard, who is still imposing in the lineup, but suddenly looks less protect and reminds people that he's 31 with fewer home runs than the year before in each of the last two seasons.

Still, ask most teams and they'd take their chances with Howard, Utley, Polanco and even roll the dice on whether Rollins will be happy, as long as they're behind a starting rotation for the ages, like the Phillies have accumulated.

The Phillies are the clear winner in this whole deal. Because even if there are chinks in the armor, it's still one heck of a suit of armor -- especially the sleeves.

For the Yankees, Andy Pettitte becomes that much more important to the Yankees. Pettitte has reportedly been mulling retirement, but is crucial to the team's rotation going forward. And if you think the Yankees feel bad about these developments, let's think about how the Mets feel having to be in the same division as Lee, Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels.

The Rangers, on other hand, were right all along. They could offer Lee comfort the Yankees couldn't match, and something he obviously valued in the end. However, the Phillies offered not only the pillow top mattress, but one he'd slept like a baby in before.

Texas also has a World Series-type team, but one without an ace. The Rangers weren't serious contenders until they pulled Lee from the Mariners last season, and now they're faced with the same problem months later.

The rivalry between New York and Boston means any time the Yankees lose, the Red Sox win and vice versa. The Red Sox, who have added Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez are better (no matter what Evan says ), and the Yankees aren't as good as expected -- so the Sox win.

The biggest winner in all this -- besides the Phillies and Lee -- could be the Royals. Kansas City is dangling a bona fide No. 1 starter in Zack Greinke. And don't think Andrew Friedman in Tampa isn't receiving calls on Matt Garza about right now. The prices on those two starters haven't gone down in the last 12 hours, that's for sure. If you're going to get one of those, you'll have to pay.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: December 11, 2010 6:15 pm

Minor surgery for Rollins

Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins had surgery last week, but it had nothing to do with the injuries that plagued him last season.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Rollins had minor surgery to remove a ganglion cyst from his left wrist. He'll have stitches removed in a couple of weeks, and it shouldn't affect his preparations for next season.

The normally sturdy Rollins appeared in just 88 games last season due to calf and hamstring problems, and batted a career-worst .243. There's a lot at stake next season for the 32-year-old, who will be in a contract year.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 28, 2010 11:34 am

Polanco may rest sore elbow

Placido Polanco Now that the Phillies have clinched the NL East, perhaps Placido Polanco can finally get some rest.

Polanco's batting average is under .300 thanks to a recent stretch of futility that has seen him hit .219/.285/.271 in 173 plate appearances from August 18 to September 26, although he rebounded with three hits at the plate Monday. Polly's overall season line is now .298/.340/.388. Couple that with excellent defense at the hot corner, and he is providing a return on his three-year, $18 million contract signed prior to the season.

Polanco has struggled with a sore elbow most of the season and will need surgery after the year. However, the 34-year-old has persevered en route to the Phillies' fourth straight division title. With the playoffs around the corner, manager Charlie Manuel told the Philly News that the ex-Tiger is due some rest.

"I think the elbow hurts him at times," Manuel said. "I think that some days it feels better than others. I think that he is one guy that once we get this out of the way I will give him a break. Of course, he'll be off Thursday, but I'd like to give him more time than that."

One impediment to Polanco sitting on the bench is Jimmy Rollins, who is expected to finally return to the starting lineup Tuesday after being a scratch on Monday thanks to rain.

"I figured the field is going to be wet, especially the grass -- outfield and infield," Manuel said of playing Rollins, who has been out since September 8 due to a hamstring strain. "And I figured, what do I gain by playing him?"

The Phils do have Greg Dobbs available to replace Polanco while Wilson Valdez steps in for Rollins, but Dobbs is having a brutal year. Valdez is also a slouch with the bat, but makes up for it with strong defense.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: September 21, 2010 9:38 pm

Rollins may not be 100 percent for playoffs

Jimmy Rollins The focus has been on Josh Hamilton's absence from the lineup, but the Phillies have their own questions when it comes to injured starters returning in time for the postseason.

Jimmy Rollins has been out since September 8 with a strained right hamstring and still has not returned to the lineup -- and there's just 11 games to go, counting Tuesday's game.

Rollins is currently hitting from both sides of the plate and taking fielding practice, but has not elevated to sprinting yet. He made a crack that he wouldn't have bothered to go after "Red Man," the fan that ran on the field in Monday's game that Matt Diaz took out with a hit to the knee.

However, GM Ruben Amaro said he believed Rollins would be ready to play in the NLDS -- but how effective would he be?

"As far as him being 100 percent, I'm not sure yet," Amaro said. "Every day is kind of different."

The Phillies are currently making do with defensive whiz Wilson Valdez, who is a zero with the bat.

 -- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 14, 2010 6:47 pm
Edited on: September 14, 2010 8:55 pm

Rollins angling to be back in lineup for playoffs

Jimmy Rollins Jimmy Rollins has three weeks before the postseason starts, which tends to be the healing timeframe for a strained hamstring.

"Studies show, even if it's a mild hamstring, even though the doctors like to say 7-to-10 days, it's usually three weeks," Rollins told the Philadelphia Daily News about his recovery from a strained hamstring, suffered last Wednesday. "And that's at the mildest, before I can go and do what I need to do. But I'm not going to have three weeks. Three weeks, that puts us right at the playoffs, so, I'm definitely going to try to do my best to come back before that."

GM Ruben Amaro and skipper Charlie Manuel have refused to characterize Rollins as anything but "day to day," and the switch-hitter is available for pinch hitting.

Rollins has missed time this season with a myriad of injuries and has hit just .245/.324./372 in 374 plate appearances as a 31-year-old. Wilson Valdez has picked up playing time in his absence, and has a putrid .247/.284/.351 line in 309 PA.

The Phillies are currently one game ahead of the Braves for first place in the NL East Division.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 23, 2010 11:51 am
Edited on: July 23, 2010 11:56 am

Late-night sacking for Phillies scapegoat

Milt Thompson
"Welcome home! You're fired!"

That's what happened to Milt Thompson, who was relieved of his duties as Phillies hitting coach late Thursday night, manager Charlie Manuel waiting until after the team's charter flight from St. Louis landed in Philadelphia.

What, they were afraid maybe he'd flip out and tip over the beverage cart? Order the fish and the chicken just to stick it to the team? Unless the decision was literally made on the plane, why make the guy a "dead man flying"?

Whether Thompson (who will be replaced by former Phillies hitting coach Greg Gross) deserved to lose his job at all is a matter of debate. Between 2004, when he joined the team, and 2009, the Phillies were the only National League team to score 5,000 runs. Two of the past three years under Thompson, the Phillies have led the NL in scoring. This season they're sixth in the NL in runs, fifth in homers, 12th in batting average, ninth in OPS and 10th in walks.

To be sure, there's room for improvement for the Phillies offense, but the ability of a hitting coach to affect in-season issues (such as Jimmy Rollins failing to find his stroke after being hurt) is always overrated.

"It's definitely not Milt Thompson's fault," Manuel said in June, defending Thompson as the team went through a rough patch offensively. "He doesn't do the hitting."

Apparently since then, it has become Thompson's fault. Maybe he was doing the hitting, sneaking up to the plate disguised as Wilson Valdez.

Hitting coaches are usually the first fired in a disappointing season because a team needs a scapegoat, needs to do something just for the sake of doing something. And it almost never works.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 22, 2010 3:08 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2010 3:13 pm

Phillies activate Jimmy Rollins, place Ruiz on DL

The Phillies have finally gotten shortstop Jimmy Rollins back, who spent two extended stints on the disabled list for a strained right calf. Rollins is expected to return to the leadoff role, which will drop Shane Victorino down the lineup. Philadelphia has been struggling for offense over the last month and while the offense has recently improved, Rollins will make it that much better.

Rollins is hitting .341/.462/.634 in 41 at-bats, most of the at-bats coming in early April. Infielder Greg Dobbs was designated for assignment, and shortstop Juan Castro will head back to the bench after filling in for Rollins.

The Phillies made another move Tuesday as well, calling up reliever Mike Zagurski and placing starting catcher Carlos Ruiz on the 15-day disabled list. Ruiz was hitting an impressive .275/.398/.366 in 153 at-bats. He was hit on the head by a broken bat Friday night. Despite no early signs of trauma, Ruiz has not held up well over the last few days. Brian Schneider and Dane Sardinha will split catching duties in Ruiz' absence.

Zagurski posted a 2.35 ERA in 30 2/3 innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He's walked 13 and punched out 45 batters and will serve in middle relief. The left-hander pitched in 25 games for the Phillies in 2007.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
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