Ryne Sandberg had a conversation with Jimmy Rollins prior to Thursday’s game in Clearwater regarding comments the shortstop made in the Philadelphia Daily News on Tuesday regarding the Phillies offensive struggles this spring.
“Who cares,” Rollins said in the paper. “When the season starts, that's when results matter. There really is no other way to put it. No one talks about preseason in June. ... No one does.’”
But Sandberg said Rollins exclusion from the lineup on Thursday - and on Tuesday and Wednesday, too - were unrelated to the comments. Instead, Sandberg said he wanted to see reserve shortstop Freddy Galvis play and thought it was smart to rest Rollins before the long season ahead.
Resting Rollins was not disciplinary, the manager said.
“First of all I wanted to see Freddy play three days in a row,” Sandberg said. “He has a tendency to get long with his at-bats. I wanted him to experience that and play three days in a row.”
“He’s got his playing time and at-bats coming up,” Sandberg said. “It’s also a long season playing up the middle so with him and Chase (Utley) I’m careful with their days. I know the grind of a season and Jimmy plays over 150 games a year … It’s the time of the spring right now where he’ll have some time down the stretch (to play).”
Rollins is in Friday’s lineup against the Pirates in Bradenton.
The last time Rollins’ name was in the lineup was prior to Tuesday’s game in Lake Buena Vista against the Atlanta Braves - the same day the Daily News story ran. Interestingly, Rollins named was whited out before the team bus left.
Rollins was replaced by Galvis, for the first of the three-day change at shortstop. But Sandberg said it was “just a change of the lineup.”
Sandberg insisted he did not have any problems with Rollins, calling the 35-year-old former MVP an important part of the team. But he also felt the need to have a conversation with Rollins regarding the shortstop’s “Who cares” comments.
“Jimmy cares,” Sandberg said. “I wanted to make sure that he wasn’t speaking for the ball club with ‘who cares?’ … I know and believe that everyone in the locker room including my staff cares. Now what he was referencing to was himself and where he’s at right now as far as his offensive stroke and what he’s doing on the field. So he was speaking for himself that he wasn’t that concerned with it being that early in the spring.”