Over the last few years, the National League All-Star team has been filthy with Phillies on its roster and that doesnt even include Charlie Manuel and his coaching staff running the show.
Even though Manuel is not managing the National Leaguers this year, the Phillies will still send five players to Phoenix for Tuesdays midsummer classic and based on the news from Sunday morning its possible the team could send five guys who dont get into the game.
Placido Polanco had been voted in as a starter to Tuesdays game, but with a bulging disc in his back bothering him this week, the Phils third baseman will not play. According to assistant general manager Scott Proefrock, Polanco met with Manuel and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and the three came to a mutual agreement that Polanco would sit out.
I wanted to play, but we met yesterday and we decided it would be best for me and the team to take time off and not risk it, Polanco said.
Polanco will travel to Arizona with the Phillies contingent and participate in the pre-game festivities and will receive treatment for his injury, Proefrock said. The team expects Polanco to be ready to return to the lineup when the second half starts on Friday in New York.
Meanwhile, Shane Victorino and Cole Hamels also will be traveling to Arizona for the All-Star Game, but wont participate. Victorino is out because of a Grade 1 sprain of his right thumb landed him on the 15-day disabled list. Hamels will not be able to pitch in the All-Star Game after pitching in Sundays first-half finale against the Braves.
Meanwhile, Cliff Lee could pitch on Tuesday if he used the outing as one of side days because he last pitched on Saturday. Only ace Roy Halladay lined up perfectly to pitch on Tuesday since it will be his regular day to work. However, if the Phillies had it their way, none of their guys would play.
I think that everybody who participates in that game understands that the individuals teams have priority over the All-Star Game, Proefrock said. Were all here to play the championship season and move on to the postseason, nobody involved is going to put that at risk.
Roy Oswalt had a series of injections, according to Proefrock, to help him back to form from a bulging disc injury. Oswalt is unable to start any sort of exercises until this coming week, but hell rejoin the Phillies in New York.
Ryan Madson threw a bullpen session on Saturday and showed progress in his return from a hand injury. The righthanded reliever is expected to work out in a rehab outing for Single A Clearwater on Wednesday and could be activated in time to pitch on Friday in New York.
Closer Brad Lidge continued his rehab outings on Saturday for Single A Lakewood with another inning of work. In Saturdays effort, though, Lidge gave up three hits and a run and was charged with a blown save. However, he got two strikeouts and threw his fastball around 90-mph.
There is no timetable for Lidges return, says Proefrock, mostly because he has yet to pitch in back-to-back games. But, hes clearly making progress, Proefrock said.
Victorino also is making progress with his injured thrumb, according to Proefrock. The outfielder will be evaluated by doctors on Thursday in Philadelphia before traveling with the team to New York on Friday.
Everything points to him being ready when his DL time is up, or shortly after, Proefrock said.
Perhaps the biggest concern amongst the plethora of disabled Phillies comes from Jose Contreras, who suffered another setback in his recovery. Proefrock said the veteran righthander has had intermittent symptoms of his elbow reappear and has raised questions over whether he is hurt more than initially diagnosed.
As a result, Contreras will travel to Los Angeles this week to meet with renowned specialist Dr. Lewis Yocum for a second opinion
Starting the second half
Finally, the Phillies announced that Vance Worley will start Fridays second-half opener in New York. Worley pitched magnificently for the Phillies in Miami on July 4, holding the Marlins to two hits and no runs over seven innings in a 1-0 victory. He was optioned to Triple A after the game in order to keep him pitching on a regular schedule and threw a three-hitter without a run over six innings for Lehigh Valley on Saturday.
Hamels is scheduled to pitch on Saturday against the Mets with Sundays pitcher still to be determined. The Phillies want to wait and see how Halladay is used on Tuesday before slotting him in for Sunday afternoons game.
E-mail John R. Finger at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JRFingerCSN.
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