MIAMI — Take it from Jimmy Rollins: Before the Phillies faced down a seven-game deficit with 17 games to play in 2007, or celebrated a World Series championship in 2008, or captured three more division titles in the next three years, they had to learn how to win.
Who better, then, to impart a few lessons to these young Phillies than Rollins, the catalyst from that bygone era?
Rollins joined the Phillies on Tuesday at Marlins Park and will remain with the team through Wednesday night's series finale. And while manager Gabe Kapler extended the invitation a while ago, there's no time quite like a pennant race for Rollins to share some pearls of wisdom.
"Oh, for sure, you have to learn how to win," Rollins said. "It's a mentality. It's mentality of hope vs. knowing. When you hope to win, you kind of hope things go your way, and if they don't, it's kind of like [a shoulder shrug]. When you know you're going to win, you don't know how but you find that way. And that way comes because you put yourself in that position over and over and over again, and then when it's there, you're ready for it."
It's easy to forget now, but the Phillies came up short in playoff pushes in 2005 and 2006 before finally getting over the top with their furious finish over the collapsing New York Mets in 2007.
These Phillies could follow a similar trajectory. For most of this season, they have had the youngest roster in the majors. But they also spent more than a month in first place and had a strong chance of reaching the postseason until their recent 9-17 stretch left them four games out of first place with 25 games remaining entering play Tuesday night, hardly an insurmountable deficit.
"I was just talking to [centerfielder] Odubel [Herrera] about how fun it was when we were in the same position and what it meant," Rollins said. "You made up games along the way. That's cool. But when you're playing [the first-place team] head-up, that's when it gets fun. That's when you find out who you are."
It wasn't only in 2007 that the Phillies overcame a late-season deficit. In 2008, they were 3 1/2 games out of first place with 16 games remaining and went 13-3 down the stretch to win the NL East by three games over the Mets.
Rollins, who hasn't played a major-league game since June 8, 2016, donned a Phillies uniform for the first time since late in the 2014 season. He hung out with players in the clubhouse, then stood behind the cage during batting practice and spoke with anyone who wanted to talk.
"I thought the perspective as kind of a Phillies icon, a World Series champion, a guy that's been through this on kind of every level, it would be good for our guys to have him as a resource in the clubhouse," Kapler said.
And Rollins came with a clear message.
"I just want to remind the ones that haven't been through it, just let them know there's a lot of time left," Rollins said. "We were in a much worse situation [in 2007 and 2008]. Just make sure that they find ways to win and not ways to lose."
Not only was Maikel Franco out of the Phillies' lineup for the fifth time in seven games, but the third baseman might head back to Philadelphia within the next few days to get an MRI exam on his sore right wrist. Franco would also be checked out by a specialist.
Franco jammed his wrist on a swing two weekends ago during a series in Toronto. He feels pain when he squeezes a bat and hits a ball, which might account for him being hitless in 13 at-bats. Franco said the soreness in his wrist was only increasing.
With Franco out, the Phillies recalled infielder J.P. Crawford from triple-A Lehigh Valley and added him to the roster. Crawford was 14-for-54 (.259) with a .355 on-base percentage and 17 strikeouts in 16 games since he got sent down to triple-A last month.
Two years after playing his last major-league game, and almost 14 years to the day after making his debut, former Phillies slugger Ryan Howard announced his retirement in a Player's Tribune post published Tuesday morning.
"It's been a wild ride … and I'm glad that I got to stay on it as long as I did," Howard wrote. "Which I guess has really also kind of become my overall perspective on things: How, when it's come to these last 14 years of mine — nothing has ever been easy for long and nothing has ever been perfect for long.
"But I wouldn't have it any other way."
Howard played his entire major-league career with the Phillies. He won the NL rookie of the year in 2005 and NL MVP in 2006, made three all-star games (2006, 2009, 2010) and won the World Series in 2008. He finished his career with 382 home runs, second all-time behind Mike Schmidt (548).