The guy who grew up in Dodger Blue learned to love being in Phillie red and he admitted it upon his return Monday how much he misses this place.
"I started to feel it last night when we flew in," former Phillies first base coach Davey Lopes said before his Los Angeles Dodgers opened a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park. "Then you see people walking around downtown Philly and they say, 'How, Davey, how you doing? Sorry to see you're not back with us."
His emotions grew more intense after he said hello to Phillies players and coaches before the game.
"Yeah, it was a little emotional," he said. "They're a great bunch of guys. These guys made my life a lot easier the last four years. I can't say enough positive things about them."
Lopes made an effort to say hello to as many former players, coaches and team employees as he could before batting practice. He also said hello to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., the man he could not agree with on a contract extension during the offseason. Lopes, 66, said he had no feelings of animosity toward Amaro.
"It wasn't just (money)," Lopes said. "Was that a part of it? Yes, it was a part of it. I have the utmost respect for Ruben. He did what he felt he had to do and that's it, so there is no animosity whatsoever."
Lopes played 10 seasons with the Dodgers, went to four World Series and won one. But his allegiance changed drastically during his four seasons as a Phillies coach.
"That's how things change," Lopes said. "The four years I had here were as great as you could possibly have. To see how this organization grew to be if not the best, they have to be in the top three in the game of baseball. I miss that."
Lopes did want to get back to Los Angeles to be closer to his daughter in Santa Monica, Calif., but the Dodgers of today are not the Dodgers of his playing days. The team is currently having financial trouble triggered by a bitter divorce between team owners Frank and Jamie McCourt.
"It's definitely not like what I remember when I was playing," Lopes said. "It is what it is. We'll see how it is in the future."
Lidge has setback, Rollins an X-ray and MRI
Reliever Brad Lidge experienced more elbow soreness during a bullpen session in Clearwater Monday and is scheduled to return to Philadelphia to be examined by team physician Michael Ciccotti. He has not pitched this season after suffering a rotator cuff strain in spring training.
Jimmy Rollins remained out of the lineup with swelling in his right knee. X-rays were negative and he was awaiting the results of an MRI, but Amaro said he does not think the shortstop would miss an extended period of time.
"Indications are he's going to be OK," Amaro said.
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