Notes: Rollins having no luck with bat

Notes: Rollins having no luck with bat

MILWAUKEE -- Jimmy Rollins punished Dave Bush's fourth pitch on Wednesday night, sending it into doubles territory.

Well, that's where it would've gone had Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder not snared it, instead sending Rollins to the dugout. Third baseman Corey Koskie did the same thing to Rollins in the eighth inning of Tuesday's opener.

Then there were the two outs in Cincinnati that might've gone for extra bases, had it not been for those darn fielders. Rollins is in that kind of rut.

"Bad luck," said manager Charlie Manuel.

"My swing isn't crisp," Rollins said. "You don't get hits all the time, whether you're feeling good. Sometimes they catch 'em, sometimes they catch dirt and grass."

Rollins has seen very little dirt and grass, except when he's playing shortstop. The switch-hitter, who started the season 15-for-42 (.357) has batted .198 since (22-for-111), sending his average to .242 entering Wednesday's play.

The bizarre part is that Rollins hasn't been flying out or striking out, two classic signs of his past struggles. He's been working counts, getting good pitches to hit, and putting them in play -- at people.

"A lot of times, when you're not getting hits, mentally you can say, 'Well, I'm not feeling well,' but I can't say that," Rollins said. "I feel good. I'm seeing the ball well. I'm not being fooled in there. I'm even letting them throw strike one in there and hoping they'll fall behind, but they throw strike one.

"In the cage, I feel good with [hitting coach Milt Thompson]. In batting practice, I feel good. I like where my hands have been going. It's a matter of transference."

Rollins understands not every out he's made during this stretch has been a rocket, but enough have. When his struggles started in Colorado last month, Rollins attributed it to feeling rushed and not getting his front foot down.

This time, he said he's having trouble staying aggressive through the hitting zone, and isn't attacking pitches.

"My aggression isn't there," he said. "The swing is good, the path [to the ball] is good. I'm getting a good pitch to swing at, but I'm coasting through it. I need to swing to hurt the ball, not massage it, and I've been massaging it. I feel strong [in the batting cage]. Now, I have to share that with the field."

Though no player wants to struggle, Rollins is content because his defense is still an asset, and the Phillies are still winning. They aren't scoring as many runs without Rollins on base, but they've been winning with pitching. He pointed this out to Bobby Abreu, who's batting .257 with four homers.

"That's the thing," Rollins said. "I told Bobby [on Tuesday], imagine how good we're going to be when you and me start hitting, and he got a big 'ol smile on his face."

Manuel smiled at that thought, too.

"It will happen," the skipper said.

Start No. 2: Cole Hamels' Major League debut on Comcast SportsNet drew a 7.7 rating, the highest CSN rating since a July 17, 2001 game against the Yankees.

Hamels is aware of the hype surrounding his presence on a big-league roster.

"I'm getting used to it," he said. "It's cool."

The kid described the day before his first start as weird because he was on the team watching, but hadn't done anything yet.

This time, it's different.

"It's a lot different, because I got to be on the bench [for the past four days], knowing I'm part of this team, and we're all in this together," Hamels said. "Before I did anything, it was watching the team on television. Now, I'm part of this reality show."

Phactoid: On Sunday, Ryan Howard become the fourth player in Major League history to hit a pinch-hit homer and an extra-inning homer in the same game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The others were: Jeff Bagwell (1992, Astros), Del Rice (1961, Angels) and Jeff Heath (1949, Boston Braves).

Coming up: Hamels tries to build on his successful Major League debut, when he walked five, but allowed just one hit. His outing featured two strikeouts of Ken Griffey Jr., one of his heroes growing up. Now, he'll take on a roster of mostly contemporaries, as the Brewers lineup consists of budding superstars Fielder and Rickie Weeks. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Ken Mandel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.