Phillies Notes: Polanco, hoping to avoid DL, sits out as back woes persist

Domonic Brown sat out Saturday with soreness in his left knee.
Domonic Brown sat out Saturday with soreness in his left knee. (RON CORTES / Staff)
Posted: August 27, 2012

Minutes before Phillies batting practice started, manager Charlie Manuel explained why Placido Polanco was again missing from his starting lineup Saturday.

"He's not really able or ready to play right now," Manuel said.

Then Polanco, a 15-year veteran making $6.25 million, took a healthy dose of hacks in the cage with his teammates. He fielded grounders at third base and even second for good measure.

The third baseman missed 28 days with back inflammation and has started only two of six games since his activation. Polanco said he aggravated the injury recently when diving for a ball.

Manuel deemed Polanco not available to even pinch-hit. The team will "wait and see" whether Polanco must return to the DL, Manuel said.

There appears to be a difference of opinion on his health. Polanco was not aware Manuel had labeled him "unavailable."

"I think I can play," Polanco said. "I just needed a few days. That's what I hope they think."

The Phillies hedged on Polanco before his return. They are impressed by Kevin Frandsen's play at third and wanted regular work for him upon Polanco's return. Polanco, 36, previously said he was unaware of any plans for splitting time.

All of it suggests what is becoming likelier by the day: Polanco's 2013 option will not be exercised. There will be a new everyday third baseman.

Manuel said he spoke to Polanco on Friday.

"I tell him every time I talk to him," Manuel said, " 'If you're hurting, playing definitely hurts you and it's also hurting your performance, and it's not good for our team. It's not good for you. It's not good for our team.'

"In order for Polly to help us he has to get well and he has to be 100 percent. Unfortunately, he's missed a lot of time the last two years."

The manager said Polanco agrees with that assessment. Polanco has also told the team he does not want to return to the disabled list.

That could be a point of contention between player and team.

"I know if I send one guy to pinch-hit early, all of a sudden we're short on the bench," Manuel said. "We need all 25 of our players. Right now, I wouldn't want to see him up to pinch-hit. The other night I wanted to put him in there, but he said it hurt when he took a swing."

Brown out

Domonic Brown was not in Manuel's lineup for the first time since July 31, the day of his recall. Brown has soreness in his left knee, which he described as minor.

Brown had injured his right knee while at triple-A Lehigh Valley and regularly ices that knee after games. The two ailments are related, he thinks.

"I just need a day," Brown said. "I think I'm overcompensating for the other knee."

He started 23 games in a row. Brown was 0 for 4 Friday with two strikeouts and a double play. With tough lefty Gio Gonzalez throwing for Washington, Saturday made sense for a respite.

Brown pinch-hit Saturday and struck out in the seventh inning.

Extra bases

Outfielder Nate Schierholtz (broken toe) will begin a rehab assignment with Lehigh Valley on Sunday. He could remain there for up to five games. . . . Mike Stutes (shoulder surgery) is scheduled to begin throwing Sept. 3. David Herndon (Tommy John surgery) should begin a throwing program Oct. 16. Stutes is aiming to be ready for 2013, while Herndon will likely miss the first few months. . . . Friday marked the first time in Phillies history they used seven pitchers in a nine-inning game when allowing two or fewer runs.


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