Ryne Sandberg sounds frustrated with Jimmy Rollins

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Freddy Galvis started at shortstop over Jimmy Rollins in Wednesday’s Grapefruit League game at the Orioles’ spring training complex in Sarasota, Florida and Galvis will be getting the start again in Thursday’s home game versus the Yankees.

Rollins is considered to be fully healthy and the Phillies typically play all of their projected starters in spring home games, so reporters asked manager Ryne Sandberg to explain the peculiar absences.

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com has the story:

Sandberg likes competition within a team. Given that, he was asked whether Galvis could be creeping up on Rollins, the Phillies starter at shortstop for 13 seasons.

“Freddy’s a guy that will get playing time at various positions,” Sandberg said. “He’s a guy that I like in the lineup. I felt good about what he brings to the table. The biggest thing I like is his energy and his positive influence, his positive influence on everyone around him.”

Sandberg was asked what he would say about Rollins in that regard.

“No comment,” the manager said.

It was certainly an interesting response.

Stay tuned Thursday to see where this goes.

Rollins has been criticized in the past for a lack of hustle, and former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel even benched him at one point. Now it appears that Sandberg is trying to send an early message. But does he really want his 35-year-old shortstop (who has a history of leg injuries) going all-out in mid-March?

Mariners claim Kaleb Cowart off waivers from Angels

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The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.

Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field.  He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.

Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.