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04/21/08 10:39 PM ET

Bruntlett steps into shortstop spotlight

Infielder surprised to be starting in place of injured Rollins

DENVER -- Eric Bruntlett understands the statistical improbability. He's just not supposed to have more at-bats than Jimmy Rollins.

"That's not what you'd expect," Bruntlett said. "The guy played every game last year. I wouldn't have guessed that I would have played so many games at short the whole year. But that's part of the reason I'm here."

Bruntlett has started every game at shortstop since April 8, when Rollins sprained his left ankle in a game against the Mets. Bruntlett will continue to start until at least May 5, when Rollins is eligible to come off the disabled list.

He's knows who he is.

"I'm obviously not Jimmy," Bruntlett said. "Nobody is. I'm not going to do what Jimmy does, and I think everyone knows that."

With defense a priority, Bruntlett didn't get off to a good start on April 9, when his two errors led to a big Mets inning and an eventual loss. If you believe everything evens out, then Bruntlett squared the record on Sunday, when he made a game-saving stop and throw to first in Philadelphia's 5-4 win over the Mets.

"That's not a good play, that's a great play," manager Charlie Manuel said. "[Carlos] Beltran hit a laser, and he dove and came up with it. That's good for Brunt, and good for our team. That shows that he can play shortstop."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.