Monday, March 26, 2007

35 Reasons to Believe

The Phanatic Magazine continues its preseason coverage of the Phillies, profiling one player per day to get you set for the 2007 campaign. Our 35 straight days of Phillies coverage kicked off on February 25th, and will continue to roll until Opening Day on April 2nd. Then we will hand it over to Michael Rushton, who will provide an in-depth season preview before the first pitch is dealt.
DAY 30: Aaron Rowand
By John Gottlieb
The Phanatic Magazine
By all means it looks like Aaron Rowand had a down season in 2006. He hit .262, his lowest since 2002, with 12 homers and 47 RBI. However, Rowand is not measured by stats.
The center fielder gives his all on the diamond, whether that's at the plate or in the field. All it takes is a look back to May 11 when Rowand dove face first into the center field wall in a contest against the Mets.

He broke his nose, suffered a few nondisplaced fractures around his left eye, and several lacerations on his face. He missed only 16 days.
"That's what I was worried about having him here all the time," said Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen to the press. "That's the way he plays. That's the way people should play the game."
Of course that's why the White Sox are rumored to be interested in reacquiring Rowand.
The depth of the Philly outfield was what made Bobby Abreu available to the Yankees last July, but the Phils should hold on to Rowand at all costs. He is not the guy you deal (unless you're hopelessly out of the playoff race come August), he is the type of player you build your team around.
He then fractured his left ankle on August 21 and was gone for the rest of the season. He risks life and limb for his team. He took flack for that play because he collided with Chase Utley even though he was charging toward the ball and doing his job. Rowand is always in the right place on the field.
In a deep lineup, Rowand doesn't need to put up fantastic offensive numbers. He needs to put the uniform on everyday and with reckless abandon patrol center field at Citizens Bank Park.
Rowand is struggling this spring, hitting under the Mendoza line, but he'll slot in to the sixth spot in the lineup and hit around .270 with 13 homers and 70 RBI. He will also amaze the Philly faithful on at least a handful of occasions with spectacular plays in the field.
Tomorrow: Shane Victorino

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