Despite strong season, Rollins not among SS leaders in voting

Posted: May 30, 2014

THE FIRST-ROUND National League All-Star voting results came in yesterday with very few surprises.

Colorado Rockies shortstop and MVP candidate Troy Tulowitzki led all vote-getters. Chase Utley's resurgent season guided him to more than 200,000 votes than the next second baseman, Los Angeles' Dee Gordon.

Perhaps a mild upset on the otherwise by-the-stat-book ballot was the omission of one name altogether. Despite putting together a season that looks to be his best in 6 years, at least after 2 months, Jimmy Rollins was not among the top five vote-getters among NL shortstops.

Only the top five players at each infield position are listed on the balloting results. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg thought Rollins was worthy of getting more love from the voting populace.

"I do," Sandberg said. "I like everything he's doing on the field."

Rollins' numbers aren't anywhere near as impressive as those posted by Tulowitzki or Utley, of course. But no one is in Tulowitzki's league and, among other shortstops, few, if any, have been better than Rollins.

Entering play yesterday, Rollins' .779 OPS was tied for second in the NL (with Los Angeles' Hanley Ramirez). Only two major league shortstops, Tulowitzki (1.187) and Alexei Ramirez, of the White Sox (.841), were better.

Rollins' .356 on-base percentage was second only to Tulowizki among NL shortstops heading into last night's game.

Ramirez is the only other shortstop in baseball with at least five home runs and five stolen bases. Rollins' six home runs in his first 47 games this season already matched his home run total from 160 games last season.

"He's been running the bases, he's been a clutch guy, he's been very steady at shortstop," Sandberg said. "He made a play [Tuesday] night where he showed his arm . . . He also has a very regimented plan he sticks with, and he also is ready to play every single day."

Although Rollins is a three-time All-Star, his last appearance in the Midsummer Classic came in his fifth big-league season, in 2005 - 2 years before his MVP season.

Utley, meanwhile, entered play yesterday leading all major league second basemen in OPS (.936), OBP (.389), slugging percentage (.546) and tied for first in hitting (.333). Utley is only two seasons removed from battling what appeared to be a career-threatening knee condition for the second straight year.

"It's just impressive to watch what he goes through on a daily basis to be able to play, to be in good shape," Sandberg said. "He came into spring training that way, very strong-looking, very confident, moving around real well. He's just built on that in a very professional, methodical and routine way every single day . . . He just never lets up with the routine, which takes time, takes effort and concentration, focus, all of those things. He's prepared every day."

Afterglow

While a heavy rain pelted the field, Ben Revere was still basking in the glow of his first career home run after arriving at the ballpark.

Revere's solo home run off Boone Logan in the seventh inning Tuesday night was the centerfielder's first home run in 1,566 career plate appearances. Surprisingly, he wasn't the owner of the longest home run drought to begin a career among the people who wore a Phillies uniform yesterday.

Bench coach Larry Bowa didn't hit his first career home run until his 1,745th career plate appearance, on Aug. 18, 1972, at Veterans Stadium.

"Where's Bowa?" an excited Revere announced, eager now that he finally found someone at whom he could direct trash talk. "I'm about to get Bowa."

After his first big-league home run in 1972, Bowa didn't hit another until 1974; he had one home run in his first 2,473 plate appearances.

But Bowa did finish his career with 15 home runs in 16 big-league seasons.

"Tell him he's got to catch up now," Bowa said of Revere.

Selig visits

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig visited Citizens Bank Park yesterday, as part of his unofficial farewell tour. Selig, 78, who is in his 22nd full season on the job, answered questions in a 25-minute news conference before the Phils-Rockies game.

Among the questions: Could Phillies team president David Montgomery, who is on the seven-man search committee formed by baseball to find Selig's successor, also be a candidate? Montgomery has been rumored to be a candidate in the past.

"Absolutely," Selig said as to whether a committee member could be a serious candidate. "Will they be, or do they want to be, is another issue."

Montgomery, who turns 67 next month, underwent surgery last week to have a cancer removed from his right jawbone. A Phillies representative said he was doing well in recovery; Montgomery is expected to return to work later this summer.

"I'm happy to say I talked to Dave Montgomery, who clearly is one of my favorite people in baseball and has been for many years," Selig said. "He reports to me he is doing well. All of us have been very concerned about that."

Gonzalez MRI

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez had an MRI on his right shoulder after experiencing pain at Class A Clearwater.

The Phillies said that there were no changes in his arm and that he would resume his throwing program today. Gonzalez, the Cuban free agent signed to a 3-year, $12 million contract in August, was limited to two Grapefruit League games this spring while battling shoulder issues.

Gonzalez is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts for the Threshers in Florida State League play. He has struck out three, while giving up nine walks and 14 hits in 9 1/3 innings.

Gonzalez turns 28 in September.


On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21

Blog: ph.ly/HighCheese

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