Welcome Back, Young James

Welcome Back, Young James

Jimmy Rollins is back and boy did we miss him. In case you didn't catch it, the reigning NL MVP returned to the starting line up last night in San Francisco and went 3-5 with a HR, a double, and 3 RBIs.

The Phillies won 7-4.

Seeing Jimmy back and fairly healthy surely brings a smile to Phillies fans everywhere. But that's not where Jimmy's influence ends. The Daily News' David Murphy, who spends more time with the team than just about anyone not named Todd Zolecki, thinks Rollins return will have huge implications on the club.

Murphy writes:

But I'm convinced that Jimmy Rollins is one of those rare athletes
whose presence really can invigorate a team. It's why I disagree with
those who say he shouldn't have been MVP last year. By now, I'm sure
you all know he singled, doubled and homered in his first start in over
a month. But beyond that, I'm convinced his presence made his teammates
better. Not in a concious way. Jayson Werth and Greg Dobbs didn't walk
up to the plate thinking, "I'm going to single now because Jimmy
Rollins is here." But baseball is a team sport, and sometimes we forget
about it, and a good baseball team is a beautiful thing to watch. The
past month, the Phillies really haven't been a complete team. They've
ridden some spectacular individual efforts by guys like Pat Burrell and
Chase Utley. Werth got hot at the right time. Eric Bruntlett gave them
everything they could have asked for.

But there's just something about this offense, this team, when
Rollins is in the line-up. Everything clicks. Shane Victorino gets to
hit second instead of first. That's where he belongs. Werth gets to hit
sixth and bring some speed to the middle of the order. Pedro Feliz gets
to hit seventh. Carlos Ruiz gets to hit eighth.

Why not get one more experts opinion. How bout Cole Hamels? 

I asked Hamels if we make too much of the impact Rollins brings to the entire team.

"Absolutely not," he said.

Murphy also thinks Jimmy's attitude can help get The Big Guy out of his wretched slump. Howard did get some good wood on a few pitches last night.

We tend to agree with everything Murphy is saying here. Jimmy is simply one of those guys you'd want on your bowling team even if he's never bowled a game in his life.

Good to see him back on the field.

>>How much does Rollins mean to this team? [Daily News]

 

Andres Blanco fractures left index finger, likely heading to 15-day DL

Andres Blanco fractures left index finger, likely heading to 15-day DL

PITTSBURGH --- Utility infielder Andres Blanco suffered a fractured left index finger in the fifth inning of Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates and is expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday.

Blanco was injured when Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco slid into his hand during a play at third base. Blanco was making his second straight start at third in place of Maikel Franco, who was out with a sore left wrist after being hit by a pitch Friday from Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole.

Franco took over at third for Blanco, who hit a solo home run off Pirates rookie right-hander Jameson Taillon in the first inning. Blanco is hitting .271 with four homers in 75 games this season.

Meanwhile, catcher Cameron Rupp was not in the lineup after being hit in the left ear flap of his batting helmet on Saturday by a pitch from Pirates rookie right-hander Tyler Glasnow. Carlos Ruiz started behind the plate.

Rupp passed Major League Baseball’s concussion protocol both Saturday and Sunday.

"If you get hit in the head, you probably want to take a little bit more precaution than if it was another part of your body,” Rupp said.

Mike Piazza inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame

Mike Piazza inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Mike Piazza has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Selected by the Dodgers in the 62nd round of the 1988 amateur draft with the 1,390th pick, ahead of only five other players, Piazza is the lowest-drafted player to reach the Hall of Fame. He made it in on his fourth try.

Piazza played 16 years with five teams and hit 427 home runs, including a major-league record 396 as a catcher. A 12-time All-Star, Piazza won 10 Silver Slugger Awards and finished in the top five in MVP voting four times.

Perhaps even more impressive, Piazza had six seasons with at least 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and a .300 batting average. All other catchers in baseball history combined have posted nine such seasons.

Ken Griffey Jr. inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame

Ken Griffey Jr. inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Ken Griffey Jr. has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Griffey, the first No. 1 draft pick to be selected for enshrinement, played 22 big-league seasons with the Mariners, Reds and White Sox and was selected on a record 99.32 percent of ballots cast, an affirmation of sorts for his clean performance during baseball's so-called Steroids Era.

A 13-time All-Star selection and 10-time Gold Glove Award winner, Griffey hit 630 home runs, sixth all-time, and drove in 1,836 runs.

Griffey also was the American League MVP in 1997, drove in at least 100 runs in eight seasons, and won seven Silver Slugger Awards.

In the 1995 ALDS, he became just the second player in major league history to hit five home runs in a postseason series.