08/30/12 5:34 PM ET
Rollins benched by Manuel after not hustling
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
Manuel pulled Rollins from a 3-2 victory over the Mets when Rollins did not hustle to first base on an infield popup in the sixth inning. Rollins immediately dropped his head upon contact and lightly jogged to first. Only when Mets starter Jon Niese dropped the ball did Rollins pick up his pace.
If Rollins had been running hard upon contact, he potentially could have been standing on second base.
Rollins eventually stole second, but the damage had been done. Manuel talked to him in the dugout after he came off the field -- Rollins said little to his manager -- and benched him. Rollins remained on the bench the remainder of the game.
"I just got to a place where it's a reflection on myself," Manuel said. "It's a reflection on our team. It reflects on our organization."
Rollins has been pulled from games before for not hustling and has been scratched from the lineup for being late to the ballpark. Manuel spoke with Rollins in Milwaukee on Aug. 16 after Rollins strolled to first base in the sixth inning and did not appear to try to break up a double play in the eighth inning in an Aug. 15 game in Miami.
Manuel said that afternoon in Milwaukee, "He should be running hard from now on. We'll see."
Rollins is one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball and a middle of the pack hitter - his .714 OPS entering Thursday ranked 12th out of 24 qualifying shortstops in baseball.
Rollins declined when asked afterward if he planned to talk to reporters.
"[Manuel] already told you what happened," Rollins said. "There you go."
But asked two weeks ago why he does not run hard on every play, Rollins said, "You'll end up breaking down, just the wear and tear on your body. Why do people do a lot of things? It's just the way it is. It's like, if you're a pitcher, why don't you throw every ball at 95 mph? Sometimes it's not going to happen. Hustle doesn't take talent, but there are other things that go on that sometimes you just get upset about."
Rollins was upset he popped up again in the sixth inning. Rollins entered the afternoon tied for the big league lead with 21 percent of his balls in play infield fly outs.
Manuel does not consider that an excuse and acknowledged that Rollins' actions could have an impact on other players.
"Yeah, I could see where it could affect them," Manuel said of the other players in the Phillies' clubhouse. "Yes. Yeah, I do. ... It's important to hold on to what I said. It's up to me to back up what I say. With the conversation, Jimmy and I had I think we understand one another. I hope the guys on our team understand me, too."
Manuel would not say if Rollins would play Friday's series opener in Atlanta.
"I don't know. That's between Jimmy and I," he said.
Asked how big of a problem the situation is, Manuel said, "It's no problem at all if we hustle."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.