PHILADELPHIA -- Since Charlie Manuel took over as the manager of the Phillies, one thing has always been clear -- Jimmy Rollins was his leadoff hitter.
Part of that has been Rollins' production at the top of the lineup. Never a prototypical leadoff hitter, there have been steady debates in Philadelphia about whether the best option was to move Rollins down in the lineup.
For Manuel, Rollins in the leadoff spot has to do in part with loyalty, his strong track record and what other options were available. Now, with Ben Revere starting in center, Manuel finally has an option that makes some sense.
"In Spring Training, I was a little surprised that I saw a good offensive player [in Revere]," Manuel said. "He's a guy who makes contact, can move the ball all over the field, he can bunt, he is aggressive on the bases. I was a little bit surprised about it."
Revere started in the top spot on Friday night against the Toronto Blue Jays and Rollins hit second. Some may see that as a sign, and yet Manuel may have tipped his hand before the game as he thought about Rollins.
"I think that Jimmy has been a better option than anyone we've had," Manuel said. "Basically, we'll get to see how our team goes. I like Jimmy Rollins leading off for a couple of things. One of them is the runs he produces from the leadoff spot. You may ask how he produces runs from the leadoff spot. Well, he's knocking in the seventh, eighth and ninth hole hitters. How does he do it? By knocking doubles, triples and homers."
As this season progresses, maybe the manager will make a change, but as for the start of the year, don't expect him to go away from what's been successful for the past eight seasons.
Mike Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.