Phillies Notes: Infielders seek 2d opinions

Posted: July 01, 2010

CINCINNATI - The Phillies will know more Thursday about how long they can expect both Chase Utley and Placido Polanco to be sidelined.

The two infielders were placed on the disabled list Tuesday, but a day later the Phillies were still unable to ascertain how severe each injury is.

Both players will go to New York on Thursday for second opinions. Utley (sprained right thumb) will see hand specialist Andrew Weiland. Polanco (left elbow inflammation) will see orthopedic surgeon and Mets team physician David Altchek.

On Wednesday, Utley and Polanco were both examined in Philadelphia without conclusive results. Utley saw hand specialist Randall Culp, and Polanco met with surgeon Steven Cohen.

"We'll have some more definitive information hopefully [Thursday]," Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. "Right now we're still in the process of the evaluation."

Meanwhile, another potential target for the Phillies became available. The Tampa Bay Ray designated third baseman Hank Blalock for assignment Wednesday. Blalock, 29, hit .254 with one home run and seven RBIs in 63 at-bats for the Rays.

The Phillies have said they will wait until they know the severity of both Utley's and Polanco's injuries before making a move to acquire help from the outside.

Happ not ready

For the first time Wednesday, the Phillies publicly admitted lefthander J.A. Happ could be headed to the minor leagues following the end of his current rehab assignment.

Happ will make his sixth and final rehab start sometime in the next week. He threw 100 pitches in four innings and allowed 10 baserunners for triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday.

"He felt good afterward," Proefrock said of Happ. Assistant general manager Benny Looper was in Allentown to watch Happ.

Happ's 30-day rehab clock expires July 7, meaning he has time to make another start before the Phillies must make a decision on his status. Proefrock said it's possible to get an extension, but it's not easy.

Happ has options remaining, which means the Phillies could chose to send Happ to the minors should they not be pleased with his final rehab outing. That is becoming a growing possibility by the day.

Happ will be in Pittsburgh on Thursday to throw a bullpen session in front of Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee. Happ has a 6.98 ERA in five minor-league rehab games.

Sardinha's moment

When the Reds drafted Dane Sardinha with the 46th overall pick in the 2000 draft, they likely envisioned contributions like Wednesday, when Sardinha hit a three-run home run.

Except Sardinha was wearing a Phillies jersey.

Sardinha said the home run meant more because it was hit against Cincinnati. He set a career-high with those three RBIs.

"Any hit I get means a lot to me at this stage of my career," Sardinha said. "It was special."

Sardinha, the fourth catcher on the Phillies' depth chart, has hit the first two home runs of his five-year major-league career with the Phils. He is 3 for 15 (.200) in six games.

"He probably was the last guy in our lineup that you think would hit a home run," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He got up there and hit a breaking ball right out of here."

Extra bases

The Phillies will face two winless pitchers in their first two games at PNC Park against the lowly Pirates: Daniel McCutchen (0-3, 11.00 ERA) and Ross Ohlendorf (0-6, 4.90). . . . Infielder Brian Bocock, recalled Tuesday, made it to the ballpark in the middle of Tuesday's loss. He is wearing No. 18. . . . Online fan voting for the All-Star Game ends at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. Rosters will be announced Sunday. Utley and Polanco were the only Phillies leading their respective positions in the last update Tuesday.


Phillies Notes:

Utley, Polanco seek second opinions. D6.


Contact staff writer Matt Gelb at 215-854-2928 or mgelb@phillynews.com.

Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/magelb.

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