Phillies Notes: Phillies' Schierholtz hoping to bounce back from toe injury ahead of schedule

Posted: August 19, 2012

MILWAUKEE - There are no guarantees in the Phillies outfield, a fact not lost on Nate Schierholtz, and that is why he played catch Friday at Miller Park with a metal plate inserted into his right sneaker.

Schierholtz begged for a chance at everyday playing time in San Francisco and thought he had received at least two months of it with a trade to Philadelphia. Then he fouled two balls off his right big toe and landed on the disabled list.

He is determined to not make it the last impression for 2012.

"It's just bad luck," Schierholtz said. "It's frustrating to come here and get a chance to play. This is definitely a big setback. It's not the way I planned it. I feel like I'll be able to come back and still play a good amount of time. Just crossing my fingers that 15 days are enough."

Doctors initially estimated a three-to-six-week timetable for Schierholtz's return. He is eligible to be activated Aug. 28 and did not eliminate that possibility. It remains to be seen whether he can achieve that goal.

Either way, he will not be totally healthy until 2013.

"I'm not expecting to run pain-free for the rest of the season," Schierholtz said.

The 28-year-old outfielder believes he actually broke the toe Aug. 8, five days before he was placed on the disabled list. He fouled a pitch off his toe that night, started two more games, and then pinch-hit Aug. 12. That's when he whacked the same toe again.

The pain was so severe then that an X-ray was ordered. It confirmed the break. Schierholtz figured he would have to stop playing eventually, even before the second foul tip. He hit .219 with a .622 OPS in 32 at-bats with the Phils since the trade.

Last season, Schierholtz missed 38 days with a hairline fracture of his right foot, also suffered when a foul ball struck it.

For now, he will wear the metal plate in his shoe to prevent the toe from flexing. Doctors have told him he can play, as long as he can tolerate the pain.

He has yet to attempt running.

"That's the worst part," Schierholtz said. "It's feeling better every day. It's getting a little less sore. . . . Just trying to let it calm down."

Few things have gone right for the Phillies in 2012. Add Schierholtz's toe to the list.

"The timing is just brutal," he said.

Howard's gait

Charlie Manuel said the team's medical reports generally have been favorable regarding Ryan Howard's return from Achilles surgery. But it was impossible not to notice how hampered the first baseman appeared on the bases Thursday.

"He says he's OK," Manuel said. "The last ball he hit, he was having a hard time. He was having a hard time getting out of the box. That's what I thought. That could have something to do with his backside and stuff, getting started. I'm sure he's going to have days when his foot feels better than other days. Sometimes it's easier to get loose. Sometimes it's not."

Extra bases

Placido Polanco (back inflammation) was 3 for 5 with three runs scored and an RBI while serving as designated hitter for single-A Clearwater. Polanco is expected to play one more rehab game at third base before being activated by the Phillies on Monday. . . . Cliff Lee became only the fourth pitcher since 1900 to strike out at least 12, walk none, and allow three or more home runs in a start. The others were Curt Schilling (with Arizona in 2001 and 2003), Bruce Hurst (Boston, 1986), and Sonny Siebert (Cleveland, 1967).


Contact Matt Gelb at mgelb@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @magelb.

 

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