Charlie Manuel wants to see a change in the Phillies approach at the plate, and he wants Jimmy Rollins to set the tone. The two had a short meeting after Thursday’s BP, and Manuel divulged a little to the media shortly afterward.
“Jimmy can get in the count 2-1, 3-1 quite a bit, then he’ll chase a ball up out of the strike zone and hit a fly ball to center field,” Manuel said. “I talked him about that. … If he looks for a fastball and it’s not a strike, then try to lay off it. Learn and practice that way, and also in the game.”
It starts with Jimmy, but it’s something that the team needs to work on.
“I want to talk to all of our guys,” Manuel said. “I want our guys to talk about hitting. I want guys like Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins and Howard, and Victorino … I want to have more talk about hitting, talking about getting good balls to hit, not giving away at-bats, things like that.
“With our pitching and everything like that, we need to score the runs that we’re supposed to score. If we have a guy on third base with less than two outs early in the game, we need to score one run. If we have two guys on, we need to make sure we score one run, instead of a guy standing there maybe trying to bust the game open.”
Manuel also talked with Rollins about the team’s complacency, energy, and clubhouse atmosphere. He has been vocal in the past that the energy level of the team at times isn’t where he would like, and doesn’t want the team taking their wins for granted. He wants the team to talk more about hitting. Manuel cited how players used to talk about their at-bats after games, and that that doesn’t really happen anymore.
Rollins IS the captain of this team, and needs to lead by example.
Someone else who can lead by example is Jim Thome. Manuel thinks that the influence that Thome is going to have in the clubhouse is going to be huge, and I have to agree. Thome and Ryan Howard have already had conversations about Howard’s approach.
Plenty of great stuff happening to report out of Clearwater, and there hasn’t even been a full squad workout yet…