Monday, April 12, 2010
Updated: April 13, 4:35 PM ET
Injuries sideline Phillies' Rollins, Werth
By Jayson Stark
PHILADELPHIA -- The good news is, they're off to a 6-1 start for only the third time in the live-ball era. But the bad news for the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday was that two of the seven All-Stars in their starting lineup didn't make it through their home opener healthy.
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins and right-fielder Jayson Werth both were injured Monday, but Rollins' issues appear to be the more serious of the two. The shortstop strained his right calf muscle in fluky fashion while loosening up in the outfield just before the game. He'll undergo an MRI on Tuesday.
Werth has a sore hip, but said afterward: "I'll be fine. It was more precautionary than anything else."
Rollins didn't address the media after the game. But teammate Greg Dobbs said Rollins -- who was hitting .391, with a .516 on-base percentage -- was "extremely frustrated" by his freak injury.
"After he came out of the lineup, I came up into the clubhouse to check on him," Dobbs said. "And he was kind of like, 'I can't believe this.' He was frustrated, extremely frustrated."
Rollins was in the original starting lineup, was introduced before the game and was even on the lineup card that was handed to the umpires just before game time. But after the pregame ceremonies, he went out to the outfield to stretch and do some light jogging and "grabbed his calf," said manager Charlie Manuel.
First baseman Ryan Howard was loosening up at the same time but said afterward, "I'm not sure what happened. He just said he felt something in his calf."
Some Phillies weren't even aware Rollins had hurt himself until utility man Juan Castro trotted out to shortstop in the first inning.
"Everyone was surprised not to see J-Roll in there," Werth said. "That's a situation where everyone knew it was probably pretty serious for him to come out before the game even starts."
Werth, meanwhile, said his own injury does not appear serious. He said he "felt [his] hip flexor grab a little bit while [he] was running to first" in the fourth inning. He stayed in the game for another inning and even singled in the fifth, but decided the smart thing to do was to leave and get treatment, rather than risk further injury.
"I just thought it would be best not to play any longer," he said, "especially because we've got guys on the bench who are more than capable of getting the job done. It's a situation where, if you stay in there, you could create a situation that's theoretically a lot worse."
Last year, six of the Phillies' eight starting position players played in 150 games or more -- something only one other National League team has done in the past 20 years. But one of their big offseason objectives was upgrading their bench with players like Castro and Ross Gload. So now, they may find out fast how well they succeeded at accomplishing that upgrade.
The most immediate effect, if Rollins is out for any length of time, is that Castro -- who has never started more than 66 games in any of his 15 big league seasons -- would take over as the regular shortstop. And Shane Victorino, who has been hitting seventh this season, would likely move up to the leadoff spot while Rollins is out.
"We've been doing this for about four years now," Manuel said. "I want to tell you something. Just because somebody goes down, we're going to keep right on playing. We've got guys who like to play. We've got guys sitting on the bench who can get the job done."
"Yeah, it's unfortunate," said Werth. "But the show goes on."
Jayson Stark is a senior baseball writer for ESPN.com.