Phillies' Rollins back in Manuel's good graces

Posted: September 01, 2012

ATLANTA - The door opened at 4:23 p.m. Friday and Jimmy Rollins smiled. Charlie Manuel chuckled from inside the visiting manager's office at Turner Field. The Phillies lineup was already made in Manuel's head and it included Rollins even before he issued an apology during a seven-minute chat.

"He walked in there," Manuel said, "and manned up."

A day earlier, Rollins was benched for not running out an infield pop-up. It was two weeks to the day Manuel admonished Rollins for a similar lack of hustle. Manuel viewed the latest offense as disrespect toward him, his teammates, and the entire organization.

Rollins said the act was not premeditated and he reached an understanding with Manuel.

The shortstop admitted he does not hustle on every play.

"It just doesn't happen that way," Rollins said.

He does not believe it is an issue.

"There's obviously a spotlight on it," Rollins said. "If I was the only player to ever do that and do that in this game today it would make sense. But I broke the rule, like I said. That was the result of it."

Manuel said he briefly contemplated sitting Rollins again Friday. Rollins figured he would play because he had not made a scene when removed and confessed to the gaffe.

Before his sixth-inning at-bat, Rollins said he spent time during the game in the underground batting cage. He wanted more work on his righthanded swing because he had popped up in the fourth inning.

When he did it again, he said he was immediately overwhelmed with confusion.

"The first thing was 'You didn't get the run in,' " Rollins said. "Second, it's like 'Damn, you were just in the cage literally working on that. How do you do it again?' And that was really about it. That's all that went through my mind."

Manuel said he could understand that. But it did not preclude Rollins from running.

"I don't want to try to have to make Jimmy run," Manuel said. "I want Jimmy to want to run. I want Jimmy to want to run because you're supposed to run and you should run. That's what baseball is all about."

The manager, of course, knows that is unlikely to happen. Rollins, 33, is rooted in habit. The Phillies committed four more years to him this past winter. He is one of the best defensive shortstops in the game and above average in offensive production.

"He'll change for periods of time," Manuel said. "But he'll probably always fall back into something like that. There again, that doesn't mean you let it go. You don't let it pass."

Rollins was asked if he feared fans will eventually remember him for his lack of hustle rather than the world championship, MVP award, Gold Gloves and all-star appearances.

"No, not really," Rollins said. "They're isolated incidents. From maybe my third year it was already something. Actually, my first year. Let's be real. It was always something. That's the decision people will make."

Brown still sore

Domonic Brown did not start for the fifth time in six games as his left-knee soreness morphs from minor to concerning. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Brown was not 100 percent "but he's getting close."

"He still has some soreness in his left knee," Amaro said. "His right knee is doing well. It's really up to Charlie with what he wants to do with him."

Rosters expand

Amaro anticipated only one move Saturday when rosters expand, and that was the activation of Nate Schierholtz (broken toe) from the disabled list. Schierholtz joined the team Friday after a four-game rehab stint with triple-A Lehigh Valley.

"It's painful at times," Schierholtz said, "but not a big deal."

There could be other additions once Lehigh Valley and double-A Reading finish their seasons Monday. (Both have shots at postseason play.)

"That's a possibility," Amaro said. "I don't foresee us doing a lot. We want to see the guys who are here play."

Extra bases

Carlos Ruiz (torn foot) continues to rehab, but Amaro questioned whether there was much benefit to Ruiz's returning with such little time left in 2012. "It's a risk-reward assessment," Amaro said... Michael Schwimer has told the team he feels he cannot pitch, Amaro said. He has not been placed on the DL at triple A. "Once he feels he can pitch, he will pitch," Amaro said. His season could be over...  Chase Utley positioned himself at third base during early batting practice Friday instead of shagging in the outfield with every other teammate.

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