Charlie Manuel had a sitdown with Jimmy Rollins about lack of hustle

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Jimmy Rollins’ lack of hustle, that is, not Cholly’s.  Cholly is sneaky-fast:

Manuel chastised Rollins for not running out a ground ball in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s 9-2 loss in Miami.

“We have two rules: Hustle and be on time,” Manuel said later. “That’s all I have to say. This is between Jimmy and me.”

Manuel said he thought about benching Rollins for Thursday night’s game but decided against it because he believed the meeting was productive.

I’m gonna guess that the meeting ended with Manuel saying something like “get me? or “so, we jake?”

More seriously: a player not running out a ground ball in the closing stages of a profoundly disappointing season is the sort of thing the newspaper and talk radio guys go crazy on, so you sort of have to make a point to look like you’re addressing thing, but a couple of things are worth considering: (1) there are probably several instances a week in which a player on any team doesn’t run out a ground ball; and (2) a veteran who has a history of leg injuries is someone you probably don’t mind taking it easy once in a while, especially in a game that is out of hand.

Not that that will change anything. When it comes to the politics of hustle, the “it’s ok not to run everything out” position is going to lose every single time.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉