CLEARWATER, Fla. – Jimmy Rollins, fresh from playing six games for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, returned to Phillies camp Monday.
While the Phillies sent a team to Disney World for a Grapefruit League game against the Braves, Rollins stayed back in Clearwater and re-acclimated himself to Phillies camp. He took two morning rounds of batting practice with Chase Utley at Bright House Field. During the second round, Rollins and Utley hit all breaking balls from a pitching machine.
Rollins was scheduled to play in a minor-league game at the Phillies’ complex Monday afternoon.
Rollins hit .321 (9 for 28) in the tournament. The U.S. was eliminated by Puerto Rico in the second round.
This was Rollins’ second trip to the WBC. He would like to play again in four years, but knows that’s an iffy proposition because he will be 38.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “I probably enjoyed it more this time than I did the last time. It was the first time I got to go to Arizona and see what their spring training facilities are like, and they are beautiful. The weather is absolutely fantastic. You don't have the humidity beating you down, and then we have to play a little game of baseball, which was very fun, playing with guys that I would probably not get to play with, and seeing how they work, and also getting to work with (coach) Larry Bowa again and the great (manager) Joe Torre. So it was a lot of fun.”
Not every American big-leaguer embraces the WBC like Rollins. Some players just don’t feel as if they are ready for intense competition in the middle of March. Others stay away for the reason that Cole Hamels explained earlier this spring.
“Ultimately our goal is to win the World Series, not the WBC,” Hamels said.
Rollins hopes there will come a day when more players say yes to the WBC.
“You don’t realize how much fun it is until you get there,” he said. “But not only that, it's competition, and as athletes, we play for competition, not for exercise. It's fun when something means something.”
Asked what specifically he’d tell a player to convince him to try the WBC, Rollins said: “Just do it.”
Roy Halladay, who left Sunday’s start after one inning because of a stomach bug, stopped into camp Monday morning for some medicine and was sent home. He did not speak to reporters. It’s uncertain when he will make his next start, but pitching coach Rich Dubee said Sunday that he expected Halladay to stay on schedule. More will be known in the coming days.