Jimmy Rollins Confused By Benching
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Shortstop Jimmy Rollins isn't sure why he's been benched by the Philadelphia Phillies and says manager Ryne Sandberg still hasn't given him an explanation.
Rollins, 35, who has played all 14 of his major league seasons with Philadelphia, was left out of the lineup for Grapefruit League games Tuesday and Wednesday and again is missing from Thursday's lineup versus the New York Yankees.
Rollins said former manager Charlie Manuel would always talk to him when he wasn't in the lineup, but that isn't the case with Sandberg, who took over for Manuel last August. Rollins called it an "unusual" situation but he said he didn't want to speculate on why he isn't playing.
"Obviously he's upset about something," Rollins said in reference to Sandberg. "That doesn't mean it's over the course of spring training, it could have been one specific incident. But he's upset about it. That's something when he's ready, he'll let me know."
Rollins was asked by the Philadelphia Daily News on Monday about the Phillies' offensive struggles this spring and responded "who cares" because the games don't count. That story appeared Tuesday, the first day he was benched. He was penciled into the lineup, and then his name was whited out.
The shortstop was asked Thursday whether he thought his remark was the reason for his benching, to which he responded "possibly."
"No matter how much you want the orange to taste like an apple, it's an orange. No matter what. No matter how much you want these games to count for something, when April comes around, people aren't talking about this," Rollins said. "People aren't talking about, 'Well, he had a great spring training.' Maybe for the first two days or the first week. But if you start out 0-5, that doesn't matter. If you start out 5-0, that doesn't matter because you're doing it right now."
Rollins told the newspaper he expects Sandberg to eventually talk to him because "he's a former player. He knows what it's like to be on this side."
Sandberg praised Rollins' replacement in the lineup, Freddy Galvis, for the energy he brings to the team and his positive attitude. Asked about Rollins' traits in those areas, Sandberg gave a "no comment."
"Everyone is allowed to have their opinion," Rollins said Thursday. "That doesn't make it right, but he's the manager so he gets to have the last say."
Rollins' $11 million option will vest if he makes 434 plate appearances this season. The shortstop was asked whether he's worried that his recent benching will affect his playing time during the season.
"That hasn't even crossed my mind," he said.