No Spiders In Hollins' Spring

This time last year, Dave Hollins had suffered what he simply figured was a pesky little spider bite in spring training. It didn't seem that bad and for a strong, macho kind of guy like Hollins, it certainly didn't seem like anything that would put him on the DL or interrupt his season in any way. After all, he was back in Philadelphia and was being counted on to be a key clubhouse component of the Phillies team that was supposed to build on a strong 2001 season.

Little did Dave Hollins or anyone else know that one little spider would ruin his entire season. The bite became infected and pretty soon, Hollins was practically unable to walk and had a lot of pain in his leg from the bite. Sure enough, he was on the DL, but figured to be back soon. "It was just a spider bite, it's not like it was a dog or even a snake," said Hollins, "but the pain was certainly real." That one little spider that dined on Hollins caused him to miss the entire season and for some, it seemed like Hollins career would end with a thud.

This spring, Hollins has stayed away from spiders and has been healthy in camp. Of course, this spring has been different in other ways for Hollins too, in that he came to camp knowing that making the team was a very long shot at best. He was ticketed for AAA Scranton from the time he arrived, but has made his peace with that and is ready for the season that's ahead. "I would rather be in Philly, but for now, the only way I get there is if they need some veteran help. Certainly, it's better for the organization if Thome and Bell and everybody stays healthy, but if they need me, I'll be ready."

Basically, all hell would have to break lose for Hollins to be in Philadelphia. With Tyler Houston able to fill in for Thome or Bell and the fact that Hollins isn't even on the 40 man roster, there would have to be real trouble for him to get the call. For now, that means playing hard in Scranton and hoping that he can impress somebody enough that they might call the Phillies to ask about getting Hollins in a trade to help their ballclub. The other option is that he spends the season at Scranton helping to pass on some of what he has learned about the game during his career, which could also serve as somewhat of an audition.

With his best days behind him, Hollins is looked at as a guy who could possibly become a coach or manager down the road. His hard style of play may translate to helping players be the kind of tough player that Hollins was earlier in his career. There was no doubt that Hollins had talent and he made the most of what he had to work with. He was never thought of as a Hall of Fame type player or even really an all-star caliber player, but was always a guy that teammates knew they could count on to get the job done. Hollins was one of the many guys who were supposed to fill the shoes of Mike Schmidt at thirdbase and he handled the pressure well. For Hollins, he can look back on a career that included being part of that fabled 1993 team that wasn't supposed to have a prayer, but still somehow made it to the World Series. In fact, he can draw a lot of comparisons to that team and to this point in his career. For many, Hollins wasn't supposed to be around this season, but here he is, alive and well and playing in Scranton.

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