Phillies Notebook: Frandsen making most of opportunity with Phillies

Posted: August 31, 2012

PLACIDO POLANCO reported to Citizens Bank Park a few hours before Thursday's matinee game with the New York Mets.

He probably glanced at the starting lineup posted outside the clubhouse doors. But he also probably knew there was a very good chance his name wouldn't be among the nine players listed.

Polanco was out of the lineup for the eighth time in 10 games since returning from the disabled list, and his replacement, Kevin Frandsen, banged out four hits as the Phillies avoided a sweep in beating the Mets, 3-2.

A week-and-a-half ago, the plan was for Polanco to slowly work his way back into his starting third-base job. But after missing a month with lower-back inflammation, Polanco said he "tweaked it" in his second start upon being activated.

"It's frustrating," he said. "When I played the other day, I felt it again. I'm just trying to rest it."

Polanco's rest has turned into a longer audition for Frandsen, who is beginning to look like a lock to have a roster spot in 2013.

Making his seventh straight start - and his 28th in the last 30 games - Frandsen went 4-for-5 with a double and a run scored.

The four-hit game was his first since Sept. 21, 2007, when he went 5-for-5 as a member of the San Francisco Giants in a game against Cincinnati. Frandsen's multihit game was his 10th in 28 starts this season.

Since his first start of the season on July 29 in Atlanta, Frandsen is hitting .355 (38-for-107) with an .835 OPS and 46 total bases in 29 games.

So when does the small sample size of a 2-week hot streak become something larger, and possibly the beginning of proof that Frandsen might actually have some staying power in Philadelphia?

"I just leave him alone and let him play," manager Charlie Manuel said. "It's how players develop the right way - just leave them alone and let them play and see where it takes him."

Frandsen, 30, who has hit just north of .300 in each of his previous two seasons at Triple A Lehigh Valley, has continued to shy away from any talk about 2013. But a day after Chase Utley took ground balls at third and the organization openly acknowledged it did not have an obvious candidate to play the position next season, Frandsen at least threw his name into the conversation.

"I would never rule that out," Manuel said.

Even if Polanco's back heals enough to resume regular playing, Manuel said Frandsen would continue to get "the bulk of the playing time" at third base for the remainder of the season. For Frandsen, what pretty much amounts to a longer tryout is not a bad thing at all.

"I've been given a great opportunity to play very day so far," Frandsen said. "[Next year] is for you guys to talk about and for management to decide who's going to man that spot. I just hope that I'm showing them that I want to be an integral part of this organization, as far as playing here and doing whatever role I can. That's really my mentality on this whole thing."

Lerud's debut

When Thursday's game ended, Steven Lerud ventured out into the stands in search of his mom.

The 27-year-old pulled off the most memorable trifecta of his professional career. He not only appeared in his first major league game, but he also got his first start and collected his first hit, too.

Lerud, who played 35 games as Double A Reading's backup catcher before being summoned to the big leagues on Aug. 24, hit a one-out single off Mets lefthander Jonathon Niese in the fourth inning. When the game was over, he delivered the ball to his mom.

"She was pretty excited and was trying to hold it together," Lerud said. "I went and gave her the ball and she lost it."

Lerud's mom was at each of the five games that preceded Thursday's in anticipation of her son's first major league moment.


The Phillies outrighted Hector Luna from their 40-man roster, and Luna opted for free agency. The result: The Phillies have 39 players on the 40-man roster. The roster shuffle could open a spot for a player currently not on the 40-man (Double A slugger Darin Ruf?) in preparation for roster expansion when September call-ups are permitted Saturday . . . Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 30th save in Thursday's win. He has recorded at least 30 saves in each of the last seven seasons . . . Ty Wigginton made his second start of the season in leftfield and went 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a walk. Wigginton is hitting .424 (14-for-33) with three homers and 15 RBI this season against the Mets, his original major league team.

Contact Ryan Lawrence at Follow him on Twitter @ryanlawrence21.

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