Manuel Sends the MVP a Message

The Phillies took 3 of 4 from the Reds thanks to a Cole Hamels complete game shutout, improving their home stand record to 8-2. With a nine-game road trip through Georgia, Florida, and Missouri looming, there was a bit too much tension in the air, especially for a team that’s as hot as the Phillies are.

Scott Lauber writes,

Manuel did, in fact, bench Jimmy Rollins in the fifth inning today, two innings after he didn’t run out a pop fly that wound up being dropped in shallow left field by Reds shortstop Paul Janish.

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This could’ve been an explosive situation at the end of an otherwise wildly successful 8-2 homestand. But Manuel didn’t embarrass Rollins, and Rollins took full blame for what happened.

It takes some gusto — to put it kindly — to bench the reigning NL MVP. Manuel is way down on the list of managers most likely to be a disciplinarian with one of the team’s most vital players, but as Philadelphia radio personality Howard Eskin learned last year, Manuel can “get angry.”

As Manuel said, there’s not too much to talk about. Rollins owned up to his mistake of not running out a routine fly ball and isn’t going to hold any grudges, and Manuel didn’t roast his player in front of the media. For a situation that could have been explosive at one of the worst possible times — in the middle of a hot streak — both handled it like true professionals and now the focus is on tomorrow night’s Moyer-Hudson match-up in Atlanta.

Say what you will about Manuel’s in-game tactics, but he deals with the personalities on his roster as expertly as anyone in the game.

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Conversely, Phillies Assistant GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. took questions on 610 WIP on Tuesday and handled that poorly, as I talk about at Baseball Digest Daily. He was asked about signing Cole Hamels to a long-term contract and his answer was a swift kick in his own mouth.

Also at Baseball Digest Daily, I talked about some issues I have with the All-Star Game and offer up some solutions.