DURING THE fifth inning of Sunday afternoon's game against Washington, Jimmy Rollins ranged to his left and was able to field the ground ball off the bat of Ian Desmond and throw to first base, too - but the ball arrived a nano-second late (as a video replay review confirmed).
After the inning was over, however, Rollins hobbled to the dugout and had a few words with manager Ryne Sandberg and head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan. Rollins felt something in his right groin, but remained in the game.
Yesterday, Rollins was out of the starting lineup.
"I can play," Rollins said. "I'm just taking a day."
Rollins did not want to risk making the minor injury worse. Sandberg, meanwhile, said Rollins was available to play off the bench, and he flew out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning.
And Sandberg had no concerns with Rollins' groin ailment.
"None," Sandberg said. "[He] just felt a very little, small thing that he played through. He reported fine [today]. It'd be smart to get him off his feet today. And it also allows Freddy [Galvis] to get in there and play a game at short."
Galvis also jumped into Rollins' spot in the batting order, hitting second. Galvis entered yesterday hitting .032 (1-for-31) in 12 games; it was the worst batting average among the 187 major league players with at least 25 plate appearances this season. Galvis was 1-for-5 last night.
Perhaps Sandberg wanted to put Galvis into a spot in the lineup where he would see better pitches, with Chase Utley behind him?
"Yeah, put him in more of a situational hitting spot," Sandberg said. "Maybe lay down a bunt, move a runner over, hit and run. He's also a baserunner. We've been good at having guys get on base at the top of the order. It's been a real good thing for us the last couple weeks, so we'll look to him to do the same."
Rollins could rejoin the lineup tonight, before the Phillies' four-game, home-and-home series heads to Toronto tomorrow.
Domonic Brown was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game. It was the first time this season Sandberg has kept the slumping Brown out of the lineup on consecutive days.
The Phillies were matched up against lefthanded pitchers both Sunday (Washington's Gio Gonzalez) and last night (Toronto's J.A. Happ), and Sandberg said that's why Brown was out prior to yesterday's game. Oddly, Brown entered the week with more success against lefthanders (.385, 10-for-26) than righthanders this season (.195, 15-for-77).
"He's working on things, he's making some adjustments," Sandberg said. "It's early enough in the season that he's just a hot streak away from getting back where he needs to be. I think that's right around the corner."
If 2014 follows a similar pattern to 2013 for Brown, perhaps Sandberg is correct.
Last season, Brown entered play on May 6 hitting .250 with a .313 OBP, .423 slugging percentage, eight extra-base hits (including five home runs) in 115 plate appearances in 31 games. In his next 30 starts, from May 6 to June 8, Brown wielded what was arguably the hottest bat in baseball, batting .331/.352/.760 with 22 extra-base hits (14 home runs) in 125 plate appearances.
Brown entered play yesterday hitting .243/.301/.311 with five extra-base hits (one home run) in 113 plate appearances in 28 games.
The lefthanded-hitting Cody Asche, like Domonic Brown, was also out of the lineup for the second straight game. Asche, hitting .221 in 25 games, showed signs of coming out of a monthlong funk in his last two games in the lineup, however. He had his first multihit game since Opening Day on Friday and hit his first home run since Opening Day on Saturday . . . Ethan Martin (shoulder) began his official rehab assignment at Class A Clearwater on Sunday, when he walked one in a scoreless inning. Martin could join the Phillies' bullpen later this month . . . Cole Hamels, scratched from his scheduled start Sunday because of flu-like symptoms, will make this third start since returning from the disabled list tonight. Hamels is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in three career starts against Toronto. Hamels enters today one victory shy of career win No. 100.