Polanco will not be in the starting lineup for Wednesday nights series finale against the Giants (see story). He likely will return to the lineup Thursday in San Diego then get another day off Sunday, according to Manuel.
When he plays three or four days in a row, he needs a blow, Manuel said of his 36-year-old third baseman.
Polanco is off to a difficult start at the plate, hitting just .179 (7 for 39) with a .220 on-base percentage and a .205 slugging percentage. He has just one extra-base hit and has struck out six times while walking just once.
John Mayberry Jr. will also sit out. He is hitting .219 (7 for 32) with one extra-base hit, no walks and nine strikeouts. Mayberry plays left field and first base. Juan Pierre and Laynce Nix started at those positions, respectively.
Manuel said he was not down on Polanco or Mayberry, but added, Our main priority is to win tonight. I dont care who plays as long as we win tonights game.
Polanco has been banged up the last two seasons, playing with a bone spur in his left elbow, a bad back, and a pair of groin tears that were surgically repaired over the winter. He hit just .245 with only eight extra-base hits in 326 at-bats after May 12 last season. Recently, questions have been raised about his bat speed.
Has Polanco lost bat speed?
No, Manuel said. Hes in a weak hitting position. His timing is off. Hes getting out on his front side too much. He drove a ball to centerfield Tuesday night and one to right-center a couple of nights ago. Hes shown some quickness in his bat. We talked to him about keeping his weight on his backside.
I still think hes got some bat speed. He needs to get consistent like he has been earlier in his career.
As for Mayberry, in spring training he was projected to get regular duty, but Wednesday night marks his third non-start in four games.
Im not down on John, Manuel said. Hell get his chance to get his swing down. He might get in tonight and start tearing it up. Sometimes it just happens. I didnt give up on him. I know its there. I know eventually well get it out of him.