ARLINGTON, Texas — Ryne Sandberg did not know his shortstop had departed the Phillies until a few hours before Wednesday's first pitch. Jimmy Rollins may not return until Monday, as his wife, Johari, will soon give birth to the couple's second child.
"He had a reason to go today," Sandberg said before the game.
The Phillies played Wednesday with a 24-man roster as Jayson Nix replaced Rollins at short. They do not play Thursday, and will make a decision on Rollins' status Friday in Chicago.
They can place Rollins on the paternity list Friday, which would permit him to spend three days away from the club starting at that point. Rollins may or may not require all of that time.
"That could go either way," Sandberg said. "It's yet to be seen, when the baby is delivered — we'll go from there."
The Phillies will want a full 25-man roster for National League play at Wrigley Field. If Rollins goes on the paternity leave list, the team can replace him with any player from the organization, so long as he is added to the 40-man roster. Andres Blanco is one candidate. The 40-man roster is currently full. Catcher Cameron Rupp is another possibility to serve as an extra bat for a few days.
Sandberg said he missed a Cubs game in 1984 when one of his children was born. He likes the implementation of the paternity leave list, which was collectively bargained in 2012.
"There is stress on both sides," Sandberg said. "Job stress and stress from the family side. So I think this being in place takes care of that. It just makes its a done deal for the player, and the team deals with it. It takes the pressure off the player."
While Rollins is absent, Nix will be the starting shortstop. The Phillies acquired him in a trade with Tampa Bay three days before the season began.
"I heard good things about his glove, and after watching him take ground balls, he's fundamentally sound," Sandberg said. "I've also been impressed with his batting practice, and his at-bats."
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