MVP Rollins headed to DL for first time in eight-year career

Updated: April 20, 2008, 11:43 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Replacing Iron Man

The Phillies haven't had to think about replacing Jimmy Rollins in a while. Since his rookie season, he's been a fixture, culminating in leading the league in at-bats and tying for first in games last season.

Year
Games
At-bats
2001 158 656
2002 154 637
2003 156 628
2004 154 657
2005 158 677
2006 158 689
2007 162 716
AVG. 157 666

PHILADELPHIA -- Jimmy Rollins the MVP has two more capital letters next to his name: DL.

Rollins was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday for the first time in his eight-year career because of a sprained left ankle, nearly two weeks after last year's NL MVP was hurt running the bases against the Mets.

"It has gotten a lot better, but it isn't getting better from this point," Rollins said before the Phillies defeated New York 5-4.

Eric Bruntlett started his 11th straight game at shortstop and entered Sunday batting .179 with one home run and RBI. He's the first Phillies shortstop besides Rollins to start 10 straight games since Tomas Perez did it in 2000.

Bruntlett went 1-for-4 Sunday night, but he made a game-saving defensive play. With runners on first and second with two outs and the Phils clinging to a one-run lead in the top of the ninth, Carlos Beltran hit a screaming grounder up the middle. Bruntlett dove to his left to stab the ball, jumped to his feet and fired a one-hop throw to first. Ryan Howard dug it out to end the game.

Rollins hurt the ankle on April 8 against the Mets, but seemed to believe another day's rest was all he needed to return to the lineup. Instead, their switch-hitting shortstop made no starts and had only four pinch-hit appearances since he was injured. He grounded out against Duaner Sanchez on Saturday and that worsened the ankle.

"In retrospect, of course it was a mistake" to not immediately put him on the DL, Phillies assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "But you can only go on how the guy feels."

Rollins is batting .308 with two doubles, two home runs, six RBIs and two stolen bases.

Rollins played in all 162 regular-season games last season, leading Philadelphia to the NL East title and its first playoff berth since 1993. He batted .296 with 30 homers, 94 RBIs, 20 triples, 41 stolen bases and an NL-high 139 runs.

"I kept thinking he might be able to play," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He kept having pain, especially when he'd go to his left."

The 29-year-old Rollins said he had no regrets about his attempts to keep playing. But he realized his uncertain status was putting Manuel in a tough position to manage a roster with possibly one less available bench player.

"Not being able to go out there and be useful was the ultimate decision," Rollins said. "I put my pride aside and decided that was the best thing to do."

The Phillies are 5-6 without Rollins. He will go to Florida this week for rehab.

The Phillies also placed outfielder Chris Snelling (left knee inflammation) on the disabled list.

The Phillies recalled infielder Brad Harman from Double-A Reading and outfielder T.J. Bohn from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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