Charlie Manuel has two commandments he asks his players to follow from the beginning of spring training in Clearwater, Fla., through the final game of the season, which he hopes comes in late October:
1. Be on time.
Manuel benched Jimmy Rollins because he broke the second commandment in the third inning yesterday in a 5-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. Rollins, the reigning National League MVP, hit a fly ball to shallow left field with Carlos Ruiz on second base and two outs. Reds shortstop Paul Janish dropped the ball to allow Ruiz to score, but Rollins only reached first base when he easily should have been on second.
"Jimmy and I took care of that," Manuel said afterward. "It was time for him to come over there and sit."
"There is no explanation," Rollins said. "I just didn't do it. It happens. Every once in a while the manager gets you. It shouldn't happen. I'm not disappointed in myself. I know better. Just go out there and make sure I don't do it again.
"With this team you don't get away with anything anyway, but he's the manager and that's what he's supposed to do when a player isn't hustling. He has to take the initiative to make sure you play the game the right way."
Rollins and Manuel talked after the game. Manuel, who informed Rollins of his decision to bench him in the bottom of the fourth, called it a dead issue.
"It's my fault," Rollins said. "I can't get mad at him. That's like breaking the law and getting mad when the police show up. You can't do that."
Rollins, who should be in the lineup tonight against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, has been benched one other time with the Phillies, back when Larry Bowa managed. But Rollins said that Manuel has talked to him about his hustle on prior occasions; he estimated maybe twice in the last four years.
"Three strikes, you're out," Rollins said.
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