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By Jon Weisman
Baseball forces you to make some interesting adjustments. Jimmy Rollins’ biggest might not be switching from Phillies red to Dodger blue, but letting go of any residual memories of green and gold.
Rollins grew up in Oakland and greeted a conference-call question about his childhood allegiance today with a laughing “Are you trying to rub 1988 in my face or something?”
On the other hand, once he resolved to let go of his 18-year association with the Phillies organization, the Dodgers were his first choice for a new team.
“I’ve always loved the color blue – that’s my favorite color,” Rollins said. “I’ve loved that uniform. And they’re built to win from this very moment.”
The 36-year-old shortstop added that playing on the West Coast was an attraction because that’s where he grew up, Bay Area or not.
Rollins said he doesn’t believe he has to prove himself after 15 years in the big leagues, but he does embrace responsibility.
All I have to do is go out there and be a leader on that squad and win,” Rollins said. “It’s a cliche in sports, but when you win, it takes care of everything else.
“My job is to be (the) glue … and make sure everything works.”
Rollins said he also had no issue with adapting to new double-play partner Howie Kendrick, given how often (because of injuries and turnover) he played with different second basemen.
“I’m pretty used to different styles,” Rollins said. “Hopefully, Howie and I can get a lot of work in and get ourselves compatible from the very beginning. I’ve seen his style, I’ve seen him play (and) I’ve actually become a fan of his. … After about 10 days or two weeks (in Spring Training), we should be in pretty good shape.”
There’s another future teammate that Rollins happened to mention favorably.
“I think you guys know the MVP/Cy Young dude – he makes you want to play behind him,” Rollins said of Clayton Kershaw, a fellow winner of the Roberto Clemente Award. “I just know Clayton from competing against him. … He seems like a really good person, loves baseball, loves life and isn’t afraid to show it – that’s something I can relate to.
“I think you have a natural attraction to want to be in same clubhouse with a guy like that.”
The feeling is mutual for the Dodgers.
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