By John Russo
Thank you! Jimmy Rollins will be back in red pinstripes as early as Tuesday. Whether or not he’s playing tomorrow is unknown but I will be proudly wearing my Rollins jersey to the park. Rollins has only played in 11 games this season while having two stints on the DL. Rollins had lofty predictions heading into the season and it appears none of those expectations will be met.
Rollins, who is batting .341 in 41 at-bats, will bring an immediate spark to a team hurting for runs and wins. Though the offense came to the life in the previous four-of-five games, the four-hit loss to Carl Pavano on Sunday killed the momentum the offense appeared to be gaining. With Rollins back, the offense will have its catalyst and they can get back to scoring runs and gaining on the first-place Braves, who sit 5.5 games in first place.
Rollins hasn’t had injury problems at all during his 10-year career. A calf injury like this can nag the 31-year-old short stop for the rest of his career if it isn’t monitored correctly. In order for that to not happen, Rollins will have to let the Phillies know if he feels discomfort and they will also have to not have him playing in an excess of games. With Wilson Valdez playing as well as he has as of late, the Phillies should continue to give him more time.
The use of Valdez is a big IF though. With the return of Rollins, it will be interesting to see who get’s designated for assignment. It’s between Valdez, Juan Castro, and even Greg Dobbs. Castro has become a forgotten utility player and Dobbs has been awful all season. Dobbs hasn’t been the 2008 pinch-hitter the Phillies wanted him to be and could land on another team if DFA’ed.
It will be interesting tomorrow to see what the Phillies do. I want them to hold onto Valdez, personally and let Castro go. You have to factor in age and overall value.
But back to J-Roll. The return of Rollins will be huge for the Phillies. Despite the fact I really want to see Rollins back in the line up tomorrow, I hope he doesn’t start tomorrow so he isn’t rushed back. Unless he and Charlie Manuel are 100% sure he can contribute without re-injuring himself, Rollins sitting the bench is the best option.