Two days later, Rollins said he was feeling considerably better after an MRI examination revealed he had between a Grade 1 and 2 tear. Team physician Michael Ciccotti told Rollins he will likely miss between two and four weeks.
"That's what they tell everybody for everything these days - two to four weeks," Rollins said. "But between today and Monday, it's much better. It's not even comparable to the way it felt. So if things continue to progress the way they have over the last 48 hours, hopefully it will be just two weeks."
Rollins is eligible to come off the disabled list April 28, when the Phillies will be in San Francisco. In the meantime, Juan Castro will be the starter at shortstop, and veteran Wilson Valdez will serve as his backup after having his contract purchased from triple-A Lehigh Valley.
As expected, center-fielderShane Victorino moved intothe leadoff spotin Rollins' absence. Castro, who batted leadoff Monday, moved to the seventh spot, and catcher Carlos Ruiz remained in his usual eighth spot.
Manager Charlie Manuel said he didn't consider flipping Castro and Ruiz in the lineup for a simple reason: "I think Castro can hit a little bit," Manuel said. "I think he's got a good swing. I think he's got a good approach. I think he's probably a better hitter than people think he is."
The best news on the Phillies' injury front was about rightfielder Jayson Werth. Even though Greg Dobbs started in right field against the Nationals, Manuel said he expects Werth to return for the series finale Thursday. Werth left Monday's game after the fourth inning with a sore left hip.
Rollins said he didn't even consider trying to avoid the disabled list, because he made that mistake when he suffered a sprained ankle two seasons ago that eventually sent him to the DL anyway.
"I went through it a couple of years ago, going back and forth, not letting my ankle heal properly in the beginning," Rollins said.
"When I did it this time, the DLwasn't the first thought. I thought maybe it's something that will feel much better tomorrow, but when they did the MRIand told me it was a Grade 1 or 2 sprain, and that they usually heal pretty well, why take the chance if you have a full, able-bodied person who can go out there everyday and contribute where I couldn't."
Rollins said he believes the Phillies will be able to handle his absence.
"Oh, yeah, we'll be fine," he said. "You've seen over the last number of years that we've always had something going on. Fortunately for us, it has always been pretty early in the season and we have guys who have come in and done the job."
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. agreed the Phillies should be able to handle Rollins' relatively brief absence.
"You don't ever want to lose any of your players, and it's part of the game," he said. "Hopefully, we've provided Charlie with enough talent and our bench has a little bit more depth this year to handle this sort of thing. But, hey, when you're losing all-star-type shortstops in the league, it's going to hurt us."
Extra bases. Amaro said righthander Joe Blanton, on the disabled list since the start of the season with a strained left abdominal muscle, is "doing extremely well." Blanton is scheduled to long toss Thursday, and if that goes well, could throw a bullpen session Friday.
Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at 215-854-2577 or firstname.lastname@example.org.