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Jimmy Rollins hopes to help Dodgers make history

Jimmy Rollins looks forward to leadership role with Dodgers

Jimmy Rollins was the shortstop of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 when they won their first World Series in 28 years.

"It was like you made your mark in history," Rollins said. "The old-timers no longer have to worry about the 1980 team being the only team they've ever seen win a World Series. The younger kids can grow up with a team winning a World Series and feeling like they're champs."

At his introductory news conference at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, Rollins talked about doing something similar with the Dodgers, who last won a championship in 1988.

"It would be great to make that history all over again for a new city," he said.

Now 36, the former National League most valuable player believes his contributions will extend beyond the field. Rollins said that his first conversation with Manager Don Mattingly was about his role in the clubhouse. Rollins said he intends to "be the glue that holds everything together."

"I think that's something that naturally comes with playing a position like shortstop," Rollins said. "You're involved in everything. You see pitches. You can call time out, step off, try to change things up, talk to the pitcher before things get out of hand."

Rollins is aware he will be stepping into an environment with colorful personalities.

"They clown while they're beating you," he said. "It's like boxing and the dude's hitting you and talking to you at the same time."

Rollins said he is looking forward to playing alongside Yasiel Puig.

"Hopefully, we keep all that energy going in the right direction," Rollins said. "He's going to be a star. He is a star."

Even though the Dodgers won 94 games last season, Rollins wasn't entirely surprised by the drastic changes they made to their roster this off-season. The Dodgers landed Rollins in exchange for two pitching prospects, including Zach Eflin, who was acquired from the San Diego Padres as part of the trade involving Matt Kemp.

"A number of wins doesn't necessarily mean everything is going well," he said. "Sometimes, you do it by talent alone. That gets you through 162 games. But it takes a little more to get those next 11 wins" in the playoffs.

General Manager Farhan Zaidi praised Rollins' leadership qualities, but also said, "What may have been missed a little bit is how good of a player he still is. He's going to add a real element to our team, both offensively and defensively. He may prove himself to be more important to this team than we think he is right now."

Rollins still rates as an above-average defender at his position and batted .243 last season with 17 home runs, 55 runs batted in and 28 stolen bases.

Rollins credited his wife, a personal trainer, for helping him offset the effects of age.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

Twitter: @dylanohernandez

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