Manuel, J-Roll Talk About Hustle
“Sure,” he said in front of his locker today at Miller Park.
But Charlie Manuel pulled Rollins into his office several hours before their game against the Brewers to discuss two plays in yesterday’s 9-2 loss to the Marlins at Marlins Park: plays noticed in the dugout and back home in Philadelphia. The first play came in the sixth inning on a ground out. The second play came in the eighth inning when it appeared Rollins did not try to break up a double play.
“We have two rules,” Manuel said. “Hustle and be on time. We’ll see. That’s all I have to say. That’s between Jimmy and me. I don’t want it blown up real big. What I tell him is between him and I.
“He should be running hard from now on. We’ll see.”
Rollins explained both plays.
On the sixth-inning ground out, he said, “I was just upset before I even got up there. I was already out of it. Mentally just upset.”
He wouldn’t elaborate on what happened before the at-bat.
“It’s nothing to be talked about,” he said. “It’s not an excuse.”
On appearing to give up on the double-play ball, he said, “That’s what it looks like, but if you look at it in baseball terms, if the ball is hit in front of you, the rule is don’t let the second baseman tag you. You see Chase (Utley tag out runners) all the time. You have to make the second baseman throw the ball either to second or first. It’s a baseball thing.”
This is not the first time Manuel has spoken to Rollins about a lack of hustle. He has been pulled him from games and scratched him from the starting lineup in the past. But the Phillies know they have to take the good with the bad with Rollins, even thought it has irritated some teammates in the clubhouse this season. Rollins remains one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball. His .724 OPS ranks 11th out of 24 qualifying shortstops in baseball.
He will not run hard on occasion, but Manuel said Rollins is far from the only player who does it.
“I see a lot of guys in baseball, 75 to 80 percent of them don’t run at times,” Maneul said. “I’ve seen MVPs. I’ve seen all kinds of stuff. There’s no sense in singling out one guy. Every time I watch a game I see it. But at the same time, that gets old after a while. You don’t have to accept it.”
Of course, Manuel could have pulled Rollins from Wednesday’s game, but he didn’t. He could have benched him for Thursday’s game, but he didn’t.
He said he thought about doing both.
“After talking to him, I think he’s ready to play,” Manuel said. “I don’t need to go into big old detail about that. That’s between him and I. If you want to find out something, then go somewhere else. I’ll handle it. And if I don’t handle it, that’s my fault.
“Everybody is going to hustle. That’s my job. That’s for the integrity of baseball. That’s for respect for the manager, the players and the organization. Everything. No matter who you are.”
And why not just run hard every play during the season?
“You’ll end up breaking down, just the wear and tear on your body,” Rollins said. “Why do people do a lot of things? It’s just the way it is. It’s like, if you’re a pitcher why don’t you throw every ball at 95 mph? Sometimes it’s not going to happen. Hustle doesn’t take talent, but there are other things that go on that sometimes you just get upset about.”