By Jon Weisman
When the torch passes, it can burn. But the Dodgers are hoping when it goes from Jimmy Rollins to Corey Seager, it is warm and fuzzy — and winning.
Reports from Don Mattingly’s pregame session with reporters today indicated that Seager has become the Dodgers’ starting shortstop, seizing his September callup when Rollins was injured and supplanting the veteran.
From Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
… Mattingly said he met with Rollins to explain the decision.
“It’s definitely a conversation, that’s for sure,” he said. “Out of respect to him and his career, what he’s done and also I feel like he’s been a huge part of the club, where we are now. His leadership not only in the middle of the diamond but in the clubhouse. He’s been a rock.
“Nothing like this is ever easy. I have a ton of respect for who Jimmy is. You don’t do this and not get attached to guys and love who they are and what they bring and have respect for how hard it is to do what they do.”
Mattingly conceded that had Rollins not jammed his right index finger on Sept. 6, providing Seager with immediate playing time at shortstop, “we might not be having this conversation.” …
— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) September 29, 2015
Seager has set a Los Angeles Dodger record by reaching base in each of his firs 20 career starts, and is fifth in the National League in OPS in September. It was telling Monday that the 21-year-old seemed to be the most dangerous hitter in the Dodger lineup, against lefties or righties.
That being said, it’s doubtful we’ve seen the last of Rollins, whether as a spot starter (given the Dodgers’ need to rest Justin Turner) or off the bench. But should the Dodgers win the National League West (maybe tonight?), tonight carries significance for what’s to come in October.
Seager told Dylan Hernandez of the Times that Rollins has been a great help to him.
… Seager, 21, said there is no awkwardness between him and Rollins, as Rollins has welcomed him and frequently offered him advice.
When Seager made an error at shortstop Saturday in Colorado, he said the person he spoke to about it was Rollins, who, in turn, provided him with tips about his footwork and positioning.
“He’s been amazing,” Seager said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better than that. He’s a veteran. He doesn’t need to do that. For him to go out there and still help is pretty awesome.”