J-Roll deserved benching and more

Jimmy Rollins is one of Charlie Manuel's favorite players, but for the third time in their relationship, Manuel sent Rollins to the bench for his actions - or lack thereof - on the field.

"Hustle and be on time."

Those are the only two rules that manager Charlie Manuel has for his players. Actually, a major league manager shouldn't even have to set those two things as rules. They should be standard operating procedure for players, but in these days of multi-million dollar players, they're not.

In Thursday's game, Jimmy Rollins popped a ball up between home and the pitcher's mound and took his usual stroll down the first base line. The ball came closer to hitting pitcher Jon Niese in the head than it did to hitting his glove and Rollins was safe at first. He could have easily been on second had he hustled even a little bit, because nobody was even covering second base for much of the play.

A couple of pitches after the debacle, Rollins stole second. And a couple of pitches after that, he got himself caught in a rundown between second and third. A few pitches after that, he was being told he was out of the game.

After a discussion with Rollins about his lack of hustle after an incident in Miami this season, Manuel believed that he thought Rollins understood and that the incident wouldn't be repeated.

Truth is that Manuel should have known Rollins simply didn't get it based on his comments following the first incident.

"Those things only come about when you lose, and that's the truth," Rollins told Philadelphia beat writers after the incident. "Nobody said nothing the day before when you win, or when you go from first to third on a ground ball up the middle, or when you score [from first] on a ball hit down the [right-field] line. So you take it with a grain of salt."

If Manuel truly wants to send a message, he will do at least one of two things, and perhaps both. First, Rollins should just sit for a day or two. Second, when he rejoins the lineup, he should not be batting leadoff. That's no place for a player who refuses to show some hustle and even though his numbers don't truly support it, Rollins prides himself on being a leadoff hitter.

Like it or not, Rollins will likely be a Phillie for a couple more seasons thanks to an offseason deal that he signed with the club. He's making a lot of money, but has diminishing skills and no interest in giving 100% at this point of his career.



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