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04/13/08 2:20 PM ET
Jenkins bats leadoff for first time
With Rollins, Victorino out, Manuel forced to alter lineup
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- The lineup had the look of a manager searching: Geoff Jenkins leading off, followed by Jayson Werth. That's what happens when Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel's two leadoff candidates, Jimmy Rollins (sprained left ankle) and Shane Victorino (strained right calf, 15-day DL), are out. "Of all the lineups I projected in my head, Jenks leading off was not one of them," Werth said. "That's why I love Charlie [Manuel]. When I stopped laughing, I thought, 'That might work. That might really work.'" It would have to Sunday, or at least until Rollins' expected Tuesday return. Jenkins had never led off in his 11-year Major League career, and had just four at-bats in that spot in the batting order. One came Saturday, when he replaced Victorino in the lineup. When he saw his name atop the posted batting order, Jenkins thought someone was playing a joke. Manuel explained that he wanted to keep Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell 3-4-5 in the batting order. Manuel considered Werth at leadoff and Jenkins second, but didn't want three lefties in a row. So there was Jenkins, who entered the game with a .313 career batting average (10-for-32) against Cubs starter Jason Marquis, in the leadoff spot. "Back to the '80s," said Rollins, referring to an era where lineups weren't as concerned with stolen bases, save for the Cardinals. Jenkins had fun with the thought. "I told [Manuel] I had to have the green light. He said, 'Hey ... no,'" said Jenkins, who stole a career-high 11 bases in 12 attempts in 2000. "They say you can see something in this game you've never seen. I just saw it. But hey, we have a glitch in the system right now. A few guys are banged up and we have to pick up the slack. That's what good teams do. "I'm Rickey Henderson."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.