Last April 24, Ryan Howard was hitting .176 when manager Charlie Manuel decided to give him a couple of days off to work on his timing in the batting cage.
This year, Manuel is taking a similar approach with struggling short stop Jimmy Rollins, who has just six hits in 45 at-bats this season (a .133 average) and has an on base percentage of just .167.
Eric Bruntlett is making his first start of the season in place of Rollins. He is batting second today behind center fielder Shane Victorino.
Manuel told Rollins to spend some extra time in the batting cage today in an attempt to re-discover his swing.
"Go in there and hit some balls -- get his timing back and his rhythm, get his balance back," Manuel said. "There's nothing wrong with him. He's alright. He's fine."
Historically, the first month of the season has been Rollins' least proudctive month. In 190 career games in March and April, he has hit .263 with a .722 OPS (on base percentage plus slugging percentage), both of which are significantly lower marks than he has posted in any other month.
But Rollins has thrived in April the last two seasons, hitting .308 last year while missing much of the month with a sprained ankle and .297 in his MVP year of 2007.
His .133 average this year represents the worst mark through the first 10 games of any season of his career. Only 2004, when he hit .149 with a .488 OPS through 10 games, is close.
Here is Manuel on closer Brad Lidge, who snapped his streak of 48 consecutive saves last night.
"I'm a little concerned, but at the same time, he's all right,' Manuel said. "He can't go all his career and save every game. That's baseball."
Lidge has struggled to locate his fastball early this season. In seven appearances he has allowed seven earned runs and nine hits while walking three.
Last year, Lidge went 41-for-41 in save opportunities and finished the season with a 1.95 ERA.