"When I slid, I saw it and I popped it back in because it was sticking up," Polanco said. "It didn't look good."
Lefthander Cole Hamels surrendered five runs on eight hits in 31/3 innings during the Phillies' 10-2 loss to Toronto in Dunedin, but he left the mound believing he had accomplished what he set out to do in his fourth spring-training outing.
"I was really trying to work inside, the inner half to righties," Hamels said. "I thought I threw a lot of good pitches. You want a feel for all your pitches and now it's being able to throw them to both sides of the plate.
"That's what I was focused on today, throwing to the inside part of the plate as opposed to the outside. I think that might have hurt me to the outside because I wasn't able to hit the outside part when I tried to go back to that."
It also could be argued that home-plate umpire Eric Cooper had a tight strike zone, although Hamels did not argue any calls.
"It's spring training for everybody," Hamels said. "I don't think you're ever going to see eye-to-eye with an umpire's strike zone. You just have to know how to work with it, understand it, and then throw strikes accordingly."
Thome back at first
The goal, Jim Thome says, is to push his body within reason to learn how much he can handle playing in the field.
Sunday was a positive step in that direction.
For the second consecutive day, the 41-year-old slugger played first base in a minor-league game. One day after lasting four innings in the field, he completed five.
"Two days in a row, I could definitely feel it," Thome said. "It's all good. I wanted to do that."
Thome recorded four putouts and caught a foul pop-up. He was 1 for 2 at the plate with a single and run scored while playing with the single-A Phillies against Toronto's single-A team at the Carpenter Complex.
Thome said he did not know what would happen next. The team hopes to see him at first base in a Grapefruit League game before heading north, but it's likely he will stay at minor-league camp for a bit.
Outfielder Laynce Nix also played in a minor-league game, logging five innings in right field. He has missed the last six Grapefruit League games because of sore ribs, but said he hoped to play Monday against Detroit. . . . Scott Elarton will get the start against the Tigers on Monday as pitching coach Rich Dubee lines up his rotation for the season by pushing back ace Roy Halladay one day.
Contact Bob Brookover
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