"They got me up at seven in the morning in spring training just to take backhands," Rollins said in a conference call. "They hit me a truckload of backhands. They drilled it into me that defense was first. Vuke kept it very simple. He said, 'Take care of business on the field and everything else will take care of itself.' With me, that started with defense."
Rollins struggled through the first two months of the season, but he finished with a .250 average. He had 33 doubles, 23 home runs, 102 runs scored and 30 stolen bases. Add the Gold Glove and that's a season that would satisfy a lot of players.
"Good and average" is how Rollins described it. "There were a lot of things I did good. I scored 100 runs and stole 30 bags. Those are benchmarks I have to reach every year. I'd like to hit .300 and score 150 runs. There is always room for improvement."
The shortstop also repeated his end-of-season feelings about what the Phillies must do to get back on top of the National League East and return to the World Series.
"Just having guys healthy," he said. "When we're healthy, we perform. When we're healthy, we're still one of the best teams in baseball."
Rollins finished with a league-best .978 fielding percentage among shortstops. He had 13 errors in 594 chances. He no longer has the best range in the league, but he is still among the most sure-handed players at shortstop. His 13 errors were the fewest in the league among shortstops who had at least 500 chances. His total chances ranked third in the league behind Miami's Jose Reyes (663) and San Francisco's Brandon Crawford (607).
The other finalists for the shortstop award were Reyes, Washington's Ian Desmond and Cincinnati's Zack Cosart.
Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz was also a finalist, but the Gold Glove went to St. Louis' Yadier Molina for the fifth straight year.
The other National League winners were Miami pitcher Mark Buehrle, Washington first baseman Adam LaRoche, Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney, San Diego third baseman Chase Headley, Colorado leftfielder Carlos Gonzalez, Pittsburgh centerfielder Andrew McCutchen and Atlanta rightfielder Jason Heyward.
In the American League, Tampa Bay's Jeremy Hellickson and Jake Peavy of the Chicago White Sox were announced as co-winners for the pitcher's Gold Glove award. The other AL winners were Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre, Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy, Kansas City leftfielder Alex Gordon, Baltimore centerfielder Adam Jones and Oakland rightfielder Josh Reddick.