"I don't want to have to rely on that after baseball," Polanco said recently.
But the pain in the 35-year-old third baseman's back is so great that he went to the Phillies' training staff Monday and told them he wants another injection - either cortisone or an epidural. It could happen as soon as Thursday when the team returns home.
Polanco is eligible to be activated from the disabled list Wednesday, but that is obviously out of the question. He will need minor-league at-bats before returning and there is no timetable for progress.
The hope is an injection expedites a recovery.
"I didn't want to get a shot," Polanco said. "I wanted to avoid it. I was the one who came up to them and told them. It's just the second option."
Polanco said he felt fleeting improvement after hitting Friday at Citi Field, but it did not last.
Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock downplayed Polanco's condition. He noted Polanco had played through the condition earlier this season and wondered aloud whether Polanco would be playing if it wasn't July and the Phillies weren't 24 games over .500. That's why, he said, the team isn't necessarily targeting an infielder before the July 31 trade deadline.
"Our concern is to get him ready for the long haul," Proefrock said. "Our impression is that it's not 'if,' but it's a matter of 'when.'
"We're not in the position where we need to play him."
Shane Victorino rejoined the team Monday and will be activated from the disabled list before Tuesday's game. He'll take his normal spot in center field at Wrigley, where he's had his share of incidents.
"I just hope there's no beer," Victorino laughed. In 2009, a fan showered him with brew there after a catch.
The Phillies are happy to have their best offensive player in 2011 back from a sprained right thumb. Actually, in the nine games without Victorino not including Monday, the team averaged 6.22 runs per game.
So Victorino, who leads the team in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, had an opportune time to sit.
His thumb is still not 100 percent, Victorino said, and he was not able to test it with a headfirst slide during the two rehab games he played for double-A Reading. He said he plans to slide headfirst on the bases and will wear a thumb guard only when he's on base.
"It's fine," Victorino said. "There's discomfort but nothing that's going to be there. There's going to be something there. But it feels good."
To make room on the roster for Victorino, the Phillies optioned Pete Orr back to Lehigh Valley.
Brad Lidge (rotator cuff) will resume his rehab assignment Wednesday at single-A Lakewood. Proefrock said the righthander will be evaluated by the team's doctors after that outing, meaning his return to the majors could come this weekend. . . . The team has yet to decide if Joe Blanton (elbow) needs to see a doctor after experiencing a "hiccup." . . . Roy Oswalt (back) will throw a bullpen session Tuesday at Wrigley.
Contact staff writer Matt Gelb at firstname.lastname@example.org or @magelb on Twitter.