Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins drove a 10th-inning Dan Jennings pitch over the left field wall at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night to give his club a 5-4 walkoff win over the visiting Marlins. As Rollins trotted out of the batter’s box to begin his celebratory stroll around the bases he appeared to shout a few words at his own dugout. Turns out, he was actually jawing at a fan — a Phillies fan, presumably — who was sitting in the first couple of rows and had been rudely heckling him throughout his decisive at-bat.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com has more ….
At first glance, it appeared as if Rollins might have been emoting toward his teammates. But upon further review, Rollins was giving an earful to a heckler in the box seats.
“Some fan in the stands popping off,” Rollins said. “He was right behind our dugout. He was close enough to yell, and he pissed me off, honestly.”
Rollins said the fan said “something pretty ignorant” after the first pitch of the at-bat. He would not expound.
But Rollins had no qualms recounting what he said to the fan as he broke from the batter’s box.
“I very politely told him to shut the F up,” Rollins said.
And that’s just the way he said it.
“He started chirping right after my first swing,” Rollins said. “I wanted to do it right when he said it, but I still had an at-bat to get through.
“You hear it a lot. A lot of times you want to say something back. This time I was able to.”
Rollins was pressed as to what the fan said that made him so angry.
Again, he would not expound.
Rollins, 35, is batting .316/.395/.553 with seven runs and 10 RBI in nine games played this season.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.
File this under “man, that would’ve been cool.” Or, if you’re a Tigers fan, file it under “man, that would’ve signaled several years of misery.” However you fall on the matter, however, know that, according to Jon Heyman, the Dodgers inquired about trading for Justin Verlander over the winter.
It never went anywhere, but it’s not like it was silliness for the Dodgers to ask. As you may recall, the Tigers were reported to be willing to listen to offers on any and all players back in November, as GM Al Avila contemplated a tear-down. That never came to pass — the Tigers had a quiet offseason and are keeping the team together to make another run at the playoffs with the Verlander/Miguel Cabrera core — but it couldn’t hurt to ask.
Verlander, who is coming off a resurgent season which saw him return to form as one of baseball’s best pitchers, has 10-5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade. He’s married to an actress/model, however, owns a home in L.A., and the Dodgers are a clear contender, so there’s a good chance he would’ve allowed such a trade to happen. Heck, dude even loves pitchers batting, so a chance to do it all the time would be right up his alley.
The bigger issue likely would’ve been Verlander’s $28 million salary. The Dodgers already pay the luxury tax so taking on that commitment would cost them more than the sticker price. And, of course, if the Tigers are going to ever give up one of the best players in franchise history, it would take the motherlode of prospects to do it.
So, no, a Verlander-to-L.A. trade wasn’t ever a strong possibility. But even the slight possibility seems exciting in hindsight. It was a boring as hell offseason.