Manuel talks to Rollins about hustle

Posted: August 18, 2012

MILWAUKEE - The loudest sound in the visitors clubhouse at Miller Park hours before Thursday's Phillies-Brewers game was the echo of bat meeting ball from an adjacent room. There, Jimmy Rollins worked. He hit a ball off a tee for some 20 minutes while teammates watched TV and lounged.

Upon arriving at the ballpark, Rollins was summoned to Charlie Manuel's office for a meeting. At times, Rollins said, there was laughter. The manager made his point, though.

"We have two rules: Hustle and be on time," Manuel said. "We'll see. That's all I have to say."

Manuel was not enraged enough to yank Rollins from Wednesday's game after not running out a grounder to shortstop with the bases empty and one out in the sixth inning. They did not chat following a loss to Miami. After the pregame talk Thursday, Rollins appeared at the top of Manuel's lineup.

"I'll handle it," Manuel said. "And if I don't handle it, that's my fault."

Rollins let his legs do the talking Thursday when he stole two bases that allowed him to score the Phillies' first run in the third inning. The first steal was done using his speed. The second one was a heads-up play when Rollins realized the third baseman was standing too far away from the base and Milwaukee pitcher Marco Estrada paid him no attention.

A fielder's choice hit by Ryan Howard scored Rollins from third.

Rollins indicated there was a problem before he stepped to the plate in the sixth inning Wednesday.

"I was just upset before I even got up there," Rollins said. "I was already out of it. Mentally just upset."

Why?

"It's nothing to be talked about," he said. "It's not an excuse."

Asked if he regretted it, Rollins said: "Sure."

Manuel said there is no use in singling one player for a lack of hustle. He has benched Rollins for similar situations in previous years. The manager estimated "75 to 80 percent" of players don't run at times.

"Every time I watch a game I see it," Manuel said. "But at the same time, that gets old after a while. You don't have to accept it."

Three team sources, each of whom requested anonymity out of respect for Manuel, believed it was a larger problem that no player in the Phillies clubhouse chided Rollins for his mistake.

"That was terrible," one of the sources said.

Another noted Rollins has done similar things in the past that were easier to overlook with the team's success. Headed for a long winter, there is more criticism. "Winning kills all," that source said.

Rollins agreed with that sentiment.

"Those things only come about when you lose, and that's the truth," Rollins said. "Nobody said nothing the day before when you win, or when you go from first to third on a ground ball up the middle, or when you score [from first] on a ball hit down the line."

Rollins said if he were to bust it on every play, he would "end up breaking down." Manuel said he expected Rollins to run hard in the future.

"Everybody is going to hustle," Manuel said. "That's my job. That's for the integrity of baseball. That's for respect for the manager, the players, and the organization. Everything."

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