Ken Mandel, of MLB.com, reports Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins (ankle) left the game early Tuesday, April 8, because of a sprained left ankle. He was injured trying to get back to second base in the eighth inning. He was replaced by infielder Eric Bruntlett.
The reigning National League Most Valuable Player has gotten off to a pretty good start this season. After Tuesday's game, he was batting .314 with two home runs, six RBIs and two stolen bases in only 35 at-bats. Rollins played in every game in 2007. He was named MVP after producing a 30-home run, 94-RBI season last year. He also stole 41 bases for the NL East champions. He entered this season as one of the top fantasy options at shortstop, and his early success was a good sign that more of the same was coming.
Fantasy owners are now likely holding their breath and hoping for the best in regard to Rollins' injury. He was probably a first-round draft choice in many fantasy drafts. At the time of publication, no news on how much time Rollins may miss had been announced. Sprained ankles are tricky. A serious instance, like a high ankle sprain, could cause Rollins to miss significant time - several weeks, at least; a minor sprain may only represent a small bump in the fantasy road. Owners will need to keep a very close eye on the news to see if Rollins will only miss a few days, or if he will need to be placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Bruntlett will likely be the Phillies replacement on the field for as long as Rollins will be out, at least in the short term. If it's longer than that, things could change. The Phillies showed they weren't afraid to go outside the organization last year when second baseman Chase Utley missed a month with a hand injury; Philadelphia acquired then Chicago White Sox second baseman Tadahito Iguchi not long after Utley went down.
Unfortunately for fantasy owners, Bruntlett, a career .251 hitter, has nowhere near the fantasy value of Rollins. However, he could be a short-term pickup in NL-only leagues because he could get regular playing time; the lineup he will be a part of in Philadelphia is dangerous, and Bartlett has 20 career steals in 474 at-bats. Owners should look for possible long-term replacements now, though, in case Rollins is expected to miss an extended period of time.
About Tim Piotrowski
Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.
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