Rollins likes idea of reunion with Utley
Former Phils shortstop reminisces about chemistry with second baseman
OAKLAND -- When the Dodgers left for the airport, the trade for Chase Utley had not become official, but that didn't stop Jimmy Rollins from imagining a stretch-run reunion with his former double-play partner.
With second baseman Howie Kendrick sidelined by a strained left hamstring, the Dodgers acquired Utley on Wednesday for a pair of Minor Leaguers: Infielder Darnell Sweeney and right-hander John Richy. The Phillies will pay $4 million of Utley's remaining salary, with the Dodgers picking up the other $2 million.
Asked if he spoke to Utley about a possible move west when the Dodgers were in Philadelphia two weeks ago, Rollins said smiling, "Maybe. We may have had a conversation. Those things remain between us."
There's no secret about the chemistry the pair had during a dozen years together that led to one Phillies World Series title. Rollins called it an "unspoken language of trust." He seemed to think the deal would be a natural fit, for Utley and the Dodgers.
"I think it would be a lot of fun," Rollins said. "One, he loved this team, went to school at UCLA, plays well at Dodger Stadium, actually beats up the Dodgers. If everything goes through and he's here, it would be nice to see him play home games in a place he's comfortable playing.
"He can add a lot. Hopefully, No. 1 first and foremost, if he's healthy and in a good place. That being the case, the way he's swung the bat, the way he's been playing, we can use it, anybody can. He's a tough guy. More than anything, there will be some new excitement in the clubhouse. He'll have the chance to play meaningful baseball late in the year. It's what we all want."
Which is why, Rollins said, their former manager, Larry Bowa, called Rollins "a red-light player. It's red-light time of year."
That being the case, the Dodgers fielded questions after Wednesday's 5-2 loss to the A's about dropping a pair to a team that had lost its previous seven games, as well as the need to build positive momentum for the final six weeks of the season.
"You can start gaining momentum, but it is early," said Rollins. "When September comes around, you don't want off-days [the Dodgers have three in an eight-day span]. It's a really strange schedule, start and go, start and go. In September, you want everybody running downhill, everybody on the same page, playing day in and day out and playing winning baseball."
Rollins is doing his part. He's hit safely in 16 of the past 19 games while batting .286.
"Before the All-Star break, things were coming together, but after the first 20 at-bats since the break, the results are starting to show," he said. "The workload hasn't changed, but the results have changed a whole bunch."
He accounted for both Dodgers runs Wednesday with a third-inning home run that he said landed 15 feet higher than one he hit in the same stadium as an Oakland prep superstar.
"That one resulted in a win," he said, "this one didn't."