It’s been a tough season for Jimmy Rollins in his first year with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 36-year-old shortstop was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in a trade for two prospects this offseason, and was expected to be a one-year stopgap at the position until prospect Corey Seager would be ready to handle the position next season. However, a tough start to the year has some clamoring for Seager a bit earlier than expected. Rollins is hitting just .209 on the year, although he does have seven home runs to go with that average.
In his last five games, he’s hitting .368, including two hits and an RBI in the team’s 4-0 win over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday. Manager Don Mattingly believes Rollins has looked better recently via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
He’s looked good,” Mattingly said of Rollins. “He’s been working on some things with his swing, using different parts of the field. I think it’s looked good. Obviously, he was a spark today. Getting on and stealing third (as Scott Van Slyke drew the second walk in the first inning), I think unnerved Lester a little.”
Rollins credits that improvement to work and adjustments being made via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
I’ve been in the cage a lot with [hitting coaches Mark McGwire and John Valentin], doing a lot of talking, and made the commitment to do those things,” Rollins said.
While the Dodgers have been able to remain in first place without much production from Rollins, they will need his bat to contribute if they plan on making the postseason for the third straight year.
He has the right mentality that could have him turn a corner at any point in the coming weeks:
The only time you ask yourself if you’ve still got it is when you go 0-for-4 and the team loses,” Rollins said. “But you wake up the next day and know, ‘That was yesterday, keep working, make adjustments,’ and eventually you believe in it.”
Only time will tell if time has caught up with the veteran shortstop, and for the Dodgers’ sake, they hope it hasn’t.