Wilson Valdez has filled in admirably for Jimmy Rollins at shortstop. The 32-year-old journeyman is hitting .327 for the month of September.
Let’s be honest: It’s not the same. Rollins, who is battling a strained right hamstring, returned to the field with a pinch-hit groundout yesterday.
As soon as he’s back in form, the team’s vocal and emotional leader will look to guide the Phils to their third straight World Series appearance.
“I feel pretty good,” Rollins said over the weekend. “It would be nice to get back, I don't know, six games. Play that D.C. series (starting today) and get that off day, then go into Atlanta for three.
“You want to pick up the speed of the game, that’s the first thing that goes. Just getting back into situations in terms of thinking and being out there. If I get back the last six games, that would be great.”
Will a week or so of playing time be enough to get him back into shape?
“It might be,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “Sometimes, you throw someone in there and they take off. Other times, they think they’re ready and they have a couple good days and they're not ready at all.”
This is an intriguing situation to monitor as the regular season winds down. Rollins, the team’s leadoff hitter, still doesn’t feel 100 percent and has relinquished his table-setting role to Shane Victorino.
It’ll be up to Manuel to decide for how long.
“Can I steal a bag? Yeah,” Rollins said. “Would I try? No.”