However, Rolen admitted that he was when it felt so good to swing during Spring Training.
"For some reason, after my fourth surgery, I felt like I was 23 and didn't have any surgeries," Rolen said after arriving in the visitor's clubhouse. "Now I don't know why that would happen in my head. That's exactly what happened. I felt good. I had range of motion. I had results and everything was going good. When I started going down the wrong path and was struggling with my health, was I really surprised? And I was."
Rolen immediately made his presence felt, hitting RBI singles in his first two at-bats against the Indians on Monday.
Rolen batted .174 in 29 games before being placed on the DL May 12 with a strained left shoulder. To make room for him on the 25-man roster, the Reds optioned utility player Kristopher Negron to Triple-A Louisville.
That's where Rolen was during a rehab assignment on Friday and Saturday. He was 2-for-6 in those two games, including a three-run home run on Saturday. The 37-year-old knows that his shoulder will continually require extra attention, but he didn't plan on dwelling on it.
"We know everything there is to know about it," Rolen said. "We can count surgeries or count whatever you want to do. What if I come back? What if I manage it well? What if I play? What if I contribute, play well and do good things? That's the side of it I need to look at. I will stay on top of it as far as managing workload and the number of swings."
As for the way he swings, Rolen has re-adjusted to putting his hands in a lower position than he had when the season started. He expects it will be less stressful on his shoulder.
"That's what I did in 2009 and 2010, and more importantly, I was able to stay on the field and play those two years," Rolen said.
To alleviate some pressure, Reds manager Dusty Baker batted Rolen in the seventh spot, which is the furthest down in the lineup he's batted this season. Cincinnati was 22-12 while Rolen was out, but his presence was welcomed.
"I told him he is icing on the cake here," Baker said. "He brings great defense, clutch hitting, leadership and great baserunning. Let's face it, nobody on the field has achieved the quality he has achieved over such a long period of time. This guy knows how to win and what it takes to win."