"You never know when it's going to be over," Rollins said, "and anything can happen with an injury, or you just fall off the face of the Earth or lose the desire. But that was never my plan."
So what fuels the desire as he nears the end of yet another season on the same team in the same position?
"I don't want to work," Rollins said, as he grinned.
The 33-year-old will not have to find a real job for at least the next three years while he remains under contract with the Phillies. With 46 more games played, only Mike Schmidt will have spent more time in a Phillies uniform than Rollins.
Manager Charlie Manuel called Rollins' achievement "very special." When asked if it is a challenge to keep someone so accustomed to one job motivated, Manuel put the onus on the player.
"That's something that happens to be who you are and how much you love and your passion for the game," Manuel said. "I used to look at guys and think to myself, 'How can you ease up and lose interest?' I always thought baseball was everything.
"Since I've been managing in the big leagues, I've met guys who after they've played a long time, they think they want to go do something else in their life or they don't look at baseball as really pushing them or motivating them like it used to. I don't think anyone can get you to do that really."
Rollins said there is enough enthusiasm from within.
"I never planned on having a short career," he said.
Rollins will continue to ascend the leaderboard in many of the franchise's statistical categories. Rollins should eventually overtake Ed Delahanty for the most doubles in club history. Ultimately, it's quite possible Rollins ranks second in stolen bases and runs scored. He is already second in extra-base hits.
He needs 21 hits for 2,000 as a Phillie, a feat accomplished by only three - Schmidt, Delahanty, and Richie Ashburn.
Rollins said he'll often joke with Bowa about catching him in career hits (2,191) and not games played. The two exchange text messages occasionally.
"I have to go and get so I can let him know that I got him," Rollins said.
Polanco to rehab
Placido Polanco will begin an official rehab assignment Wednesday with single-A Clearwater. The Phillies expect to activate him Monday, if all goes well in the minor-league games.
Polanco, disabled since July 23 with back inflammation, is scheduled to play five or six innings at third base Wednesday. He will serve as designated hitter Friday and play close to a full game at third Saturday.
"When he joins us," Manuel said, "we're going to see if we can activate him."
Polanco is not expected to play every day upon his return, instead splitting time with Kevin Frandsen.
Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Cory Lidle are the only Phillies pitchers to throw consecutive shutouts in the last two decades. Lee tossed three in a row last season, a feat Hamels will attempt to equal Saturday in Milwaukee.
Contact Matt Gelb at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @magelb.