PHILADELPHIA -- Jimmy Rollins has been spending the early part of his offseason playing babysitter every morning for his daughter, Camryn.
But Rollins broke away with his family for a few hours Monday night for the Rollins Family Foundation's "Night In Paris" at the National Constitution Center, which benefited Prevent Child Abuse Pennyslvania. Rollins and his wife, Johari, spoke on the red carpet about the group's importance, and afterward Rollins spoke about one of the players the Phillies are pursuing to fill their void in center field.
Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania works in collaboration with various local and statewide efforts to develop an approach to child-abuse prevention. Johari first became aware of the group when she met a board member two years ago.
"We immediately knew we needed to become involved," she said. "Child abuse is a taboo topic. Not a lot of people like to talk about it. So having that platform and knowing everyone has a role to play in preventing child abuse and neglect, we just needed to raise awareness for this issue. Now being parents, helping spread awareness, trying to create education programs for parents and caretakers, giving them means and methods to be better parents, it's very, very important."
Phillies teammates Ryan Howard and Vance Worley were in attendance, as well as other members of the organization, including team president David Montgomery and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. Rollins said he plans to hold this event -- next year will have a "Harlem Nights" theme -- during the season so more of his Phils teammates can attend.
Amaro has been busy trying to find a few pieces to add to his lineup and bullpen. It seems to start with a center fielder.
B.J. Upton is one player on the Phillies' radar. Some believe he is their top target. Rollins said he knows Upton a little bit. They met for breakfast in Tampa last offseason as Upton approached his free-agent season with the Rays.
"We talked," Rollins said. "I gave him my thoughts on how he should approach his last year. Make sure to go out there and play hard, because there are a lot of teams that are going to be after him if the [Rays] don't sign him. He seems like a real good dude. Obviously, being in one organization, if you have an opportunity to get out and start over, here's his chance. He can play. You get labeled in one place, and it's hard to shake that, so you've got to get out to get a chance to shine."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.