x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

More hustle in the MLB leads to less hassle

Jimmy Rollins, the Philadelphia Phillies shortstop, shouldn't need his manager to teach him lessons about playing hard.

Ronny Cedeno of the New York Mets tags out Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Ronny Cedeno of the New York Mets tags out Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Thirteen years in the major leagues should be enough for Jimmy Rollins to learn how to hustle. The Philadelphia Phillies shortstop is 33 years old. He doesn't need his manager to teach him lessons about playing hard.

But that is exactly what Rollins required twice in a matter of two weeks. Charlie Manuel, the Phillies manager, pulled Rollins after the sixth inning on Thursday against the New York Mets after he failed to run hard on a pop-up that was dropped for an error, leaving him at first base.

That came just two weeks after Manuel had to call Rollins into his office in Miami and reprimand him for not running out a ground ball. It is one thing for former Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox to pull Andruw Jones in the middle of an inning for not hustling to catch a fly ball in 1998. He was 21. When Yunel Escobar failed to leg out a double for Cox in 2010, he was 27 and traded shortly after.

But when the Phillies arrived in Atlanta on Friday, Manuel put Rollins in the line-up, hitting lead-off as usual. The two made peace after Rollins initiated a meeting in his office. Afterward, Rollins told reporters his lack of hustle was often born out of frustration from an at-bat or confusion after an adjustment did not work.

It should not require that much thought, though. Hit the ball? Time to run and run hard. Rollins apologised to Manuel, who said he appreciated Rollins "manning up". He should not have to in the first place.

sports@thenational.ae