One of Jimmy Rollins chief goals this season? Steal 50 bases, the Phillies short stop said yesterday. He has come close twice, stealing 47 in 2008 and 46 in his rookie season of 2001.
He also weighed in on his opinion of the best pitcher in the National League East, less than a week after Mets lefthander Johan Santana picked himself.
"Overall? Roy is (the best), as far as pitching is concerned," Rollins said. "You bring in the hitting side of things, and Santana gets the nod. There is no doubt about that. I mean, Roy can't hit. There's no secret there. I texted Roy prior to him getting down here and told him that he has my vote for National League Rookie of the Year already."
Santana is one of the better hitting pitchers in the game, with a .172 career batting average that includes 10 extra base hits.
Jimmy Rollins is 0-for-1 in his only career at-bat against Halladay and 6-for-26 with two home runs in his career against Santana.
On his goals: I told Davey (Lopes) I want to try to steal 50 bases. That's the first thing I want to do. Will it happen? We'll see, but that's my goal. That's a place I've never been before, so it gives me something to shoot at. I want to try to keep the errors under three this year, that would be nice. I was on pace for that, and towards the end slipped up a little bit. Still trying to score 150 runs, I've never hit .300, working on 200 hits, so there are a lot of things for me to do, and hopefully if I do those things, hopefully I'll be doing a good enough job to bring us another championship."
On the chance to repeat: "Actually, Frank (Copenbarger) came and told me that National League teams who have gone to the World Series three years in a row won two out of three. Sounds like pretty good odds."
On Polanco hitting behind him: "Well, he's done it before. There will be a lot of first-to-thirds, for one -- well, probably not in our ballpark, but most other places. Polanco's a good hitter. He sprays the ball around, he puts the ball in play, he will move guys, he will drive in runs. Our line-up can be changed, and we've seen Charlie change a few spots. He keeps the three, four, five guys pretty much the same. . .but nothing is ever set in stone. . .if he feels good about something, he'll make a switch. But as it sits now, I guess that is the way it is slated to be."
Maybe a little more hitting and running, on our own "but we'll see how it goes."
Obviously, '08, that was just an injury. Last year, it was just a bad first half. I never really got going the first half. but other than that, I did a couple things right, scored 100 runs -- that's a bottom-line thing, just make sure I at least score 100. And I stole 30 bases, so I was still active in places at times where I could, but you can't do much more if you're not on base. Just find a way to get a few more hits in there, if they aren't going to pitch to me, draw a few more walks, but they are going to pitch to me.
As I told Milt and Charlie, don't worry about it, I'll get there. That's nothing to worry about. Charlie just kept asking when, so you guys would stop asking questions.
On the potential of a healthy Phillies' line-up: "If everybody has career years, then that will be a pretty fun time. If everybody just has a solid year, a decent year with points where everybody takes turns carrying the team but nobody really gets cold, that's a lot of wins. We could do a lot of damage. You want to be at that point come in October. If it doesn't happen in September and you find a way into the playoffs still, as long as you get into October, we'll be all right. Scoring runs, fortunately has not been a problem, it's just closing out games. . .That's something you dream about, everybody just absolutely going off, probably like Seattle in '01 or '02, where they just demolished everybody -- that's the type of year we could have."
On Brad Lidge: "It's important for him to be healthy. If he's healthy, he's going to be successful. There's no doubt about that."
On Jayson Werth's full beard: "It's pretty amazing what that man's face can do. He's pretty good right now. He's pretty good. What do I think he looks like? I don't know. He looks like the dude when you are driving down the street hanging on the corner with a sign trying to get some change."
On the Phillies picking up his option: "Ruben just called me, I don't know when it was, and said hey, I just wanted to let you know, tomorrow we are going to announce that we are picking up your option. At first I was like, Oh, OK, that's cool. But 15 minutes later I really started thinking about it, like, Wow, OK, that's real cool. I just go out there and chill. He said to go out there and relax and play, we want you to be here, so we'll go ahead and take care of that and take that pressure off. Actually, I hadn't even thought about it to that point. I guess I've only been in this organization. It never really dawned upon me to leave. I've been around here long enough and it seems like if you've been a part of winning and you're a good person, they've always picked your option up. I guess I was just going to wait until after this year or sometime during this year and expect to hear it. But he let me know in the offseason before spring training, so it was definitely spring training."
On whether he only sees himself in this organization: "When I get older, they might boot me out or some young dude might come run me off the block or something. That happens. At that point, I'll make a decision. I've just always said to myself, and this is in the future, of course, that when I'm no longer able to play everyday, there's really no reason for me to be playing. I'm not going to be a guy to come off the bench and contribute. I'm not all of a sudden going to get three or four more steps back because I'm not playing everyday. So whenever I get ran off, if I can go somewhere else and play, then I'll play, and if not, I'll go fishing or golfing or something."
Top prospect Domonic Brown missed practice today with the flu. No word on when he will return.
Cole Hamels was part of a pitching group that threw a bullpen session that included a designed simulation of the break between innings. Last spring, Hamels battled a bout of elbow tightness that particularly affected him when he attempted to resume throwing after a break.
He had no such problems yesterday.
"Cole is well ahead where he has been in any spring training," pitching coach Rich Dubee said.