By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Dontrelle Willis is in Clearwater, hoping to make the Phillies roster as a left-handed specialist out of the bullpen. For him, being on the same professional team as Jimmy Rollins is a dream come true.
“Being from the same neighborhood, we’ve always been proud of him. When I was in high school, everybody wanted to be like Jimmy,” Willis said when joined 94WIP’s Angelo Cataldi and The Morning Team on Friday. He called being on the Phillies with Rollins a “blessing.”
“I tell everybody the story about Jimmy’s dad teaching him how to switch hit. He had this huge VHS camera, you know, back in the day, those things were huge,” he said “He paid us $20 a day to shag for him. We would be out there shagging for him, and Jimmy just learned how to hit. It takes a village to raise a kid, so I owe his family a great deal. It goes full circle, because now we’re teammates, and it’s good to see everything he’s done for the city.”
“I actually broke all of his [high school] offensive records, but don’t tell him that,” Willis said. Though he is a pitcher, he’s always been known as a very good hitter as well. His secret? “I just swing hard,” he said.
Listen to the interview with Dontrelle Willis: