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Rollins taking a new approach to health

Rollins taking a new approach to health

PHILADELPHIA -- In between lighting the Christmas tree in front of Citizens Bank Park and sitting down for a radio interview on Saturday, shortstop Jimmy Rollins helped the Phillies sell some six-game ticket plans.

"I'm working on my six-pack," Rollins said, looking into a flip cam. "You can get yours at phillies.com."

The sales pitch worked in more ways than one, since fans have been curious about Rollins' health following a disappointing 2010. He played just 87 games because of hamstring and calf injuries, and when he played, he struggled. He hit .243 with eight home runs, 41 RBIs and a .694 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, his lowest OPS since 2002 (.686).

Rollins, who is entering the final year of a six-year, $46.5 million contract, is confident that he will bounce back.

"If I'm healthy," he said. "Well, I am going to be healthy, so yes. All I have to do is stay healthy. I'll produce."

Why is he so confident?

"Because I believe in me," he said. "If I don't believe in me, I might as well quit."

Rollins is making some changes in order to stay healthy in 2011, chances that he said would be essential late in the season. There is a chance he might work out with teammate Ryan Howard in Florida in January. But even if their paths don't cross, he still plans to work out at IMG Academies in Bradenton, where numerous Phillies and other athletes work out before Spring Training.

"It's just something to do instead of being bored, going to the ballpark every single day," he said.

But he also is doing things differently in Philadelphia. His wife, Johari, owns the fitness studio Balance in Chestnut Hill, so she knows personal fitness.

"That's my yoga instructor," Rollins said about his wife.

Rollins had never tried yoga -- he joked he'd never uttered the word until this offseason -- but he is finding it useful.

"Stretching is boring, but if you're doing yoga, it doesn't seem like you're just sitting there stretching," he said. "Plus, just working with the trainers, I need to be doing more active stretching. Yoga is a form of active stretching as opposed to just sitting there, leg up, leg down. That's the way for me."

A big bounce-back season will put Rollins in a good place, considering it is a contract year. He has said that he would like to remain in Philadelphia, but he also understands that his desires only go so far. He only needs to look a couple hours north to see the Yankees playing hardball in their contract negotiations with Derek Jeter to understand that.

Rollins has been in the organization since the Phillies drafted him in the second round of the 1996 First-Year Player Draft, and he has been in the big leagues since 2000. In many ways he has been the face of the franchise, which is just one reason why he has a strong relationship with Phillies ownership.

But relationships only go so far in baseball. Rollins needs to produce. He sounds confident he will.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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