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06/05/08 6:54 PM ET
Rollins accepts being benched
MVP understands why Manuel took him out after not hustling
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Jimmy Rollins broke a rule and understood the punishment. When you don't run out balls or play as hard as the manager would like, there's a good chance you'll be sitting. And it doesn't matter if you're the reigning National League Most Valuable Player and one of the faces of the Phillies' franchise. "He has two rules -- be on time and hustle; and I broke one of them today," Rollins said of manager Charlie Manuel on Thursday, accepting responsibility. "I know better. Sometimes the manager gets you. I just have to go out there and make sure I don't do it again. It's something you learn from." Rollins' infraction occurred in the third inning, when he lofted an apparent inning-ending popup to shortstop Paul Janish. Disappointed at not driving in Carlos Ruiz with the game's first run, Rollins barely jogged down the line and had only reached first as Janish muffed the play for an error, scoring Ruiz. When Shane Victorino ended the inning one batter later, Manuel told Rollins to take the rest of the game off, inserting Eric Bruntlett at shortstop. "It was time for him to become aware and sit, I guess," Manuel said curtly after the game. "Jimmy and I took care of that." The two met after the game -- a reason for Manuel's delay in speaking to reporters -- though the skipper declined to elaborate and abruptly ended the postgame news conference. Rollins received the message clearly and said he's not mad for the way it was sent. "It's my fault," Rollins said. "That's like breaking the law and getting mad when the police show up." Shortly after being removed from the game, Rollins returned to the bench and cheered for his teammates. "We're a team," Rollins said. "I'm not going to be a distraction that way. I did what I did, OK, but I still have to pull for my team. It's not their fault. They shouldn't have to worry about that becoming a distraction."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.