Placido Polanco very well could lead the league in MRI exams or anti-inflammatory injections this season, but at least it has kept him away from the surgeons knife.
At least for now.
Polanco hopes that he will not undergo surgery for a sports hernia until after the season, but the next couple of days should determine whether the Phils third baseman has the procedure performed.
The recovery time for the operation is four weeks, but thats not a guarantee.
Thats why the next couple days will determine whether I can or I cant, Polanco said. If I cant, theres no choice. You just take your chances and try get the surgery. If you have the surgery next week, then we have two weeks in August and four weeks in September. Thats six weeks, thats probably the top. Ive heard three weeks, and I heard six weeks. That takes me to the last two weeks of the season.
Polanco has already been on the disabled list this season with a bulging disc in his back and has not played since Aug. 6 in San Francisco. During April he set the club record for hits in the month with 41, but missed nearly all of July.
Since returning from the disabled list, Polanco is 7 for 24 (.292) with one RBI and zero extra-base hits. For now the plan is to have Polanco take batting practice on Saturday and see how he responds to the latest batch of injections.
We think the shots will help, but we wont know until he does some baseball stuff, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
Polanco says he wants to figure out what hes going to do soon.
I dont want to keep waiting and waiting and waiting, Polanco said. Another option that I dont really like is to DL me. That would be 15 days, but again theres no guarantee that will heal me. I might be feeling good the 15th day or the 16th day, but Ill come back and run and feel it again and then we lost two weeks. Its a little complicated situation.
In the meantime, manager Charlie Manuel went with Wilson Valdez at third base for Friday nights game against the Nationals at the Bank. Rule 5 pickup, Michael Martinez, has also started three games at third base in Polancos absence.
They are throwing from pretty good distances now and its just a matter of them building up arm strength now, Amaro said.
Cust signed to minor-league deal
Amaro also announced on Friday that the Phillies had inked veteran slugger Jack Cust to a minor-league deal. Cust will report to Triple A Lehigh Valley on Friday. If all goes according to plan, Amaro hopes to have Cust as a home run threat off the bench soon.
Cust, 32 and from Flemington, N.J., played in 67 games for the Seattle Mariners this season before being released on Aug. 4. He was batting .213 with three homers and 23 RBIs for the Mariners.
Interestingly, in parts of 10 big league seasons, Cust has never hit a pinch-hit home run. He has, however, blasted 105 big league homers and 204 minor league homers since turning pro in 1997.
He has power, Manuel said. Left-handed hitter with a hard swing.
In other words, he is Charlies kind of guy.
Cust has played for Arizona, Colorado, Baltimore, Oakland and San Diego in addition to Seattle. His longest big-league stint came with the As from 2007 to 2010 where he hit 97 homers. He also led the American League in strikeouts for three seasons in a row (2007, 2008, 2009) and led the league with 111 walks in 2008.
We dont have a ton of power off the bench, Amaro said. We dont have a guy who can pop the ball out of the ballparkwe dont have that threat, so we thought it was worth a shot.
Victorino still playing
Prior to Friday nights game, Shane Victorino said he still had not heard from the Major League Baseball office in regard to his three-game suspension stemming from last Fridays bench-clearing brawl in San Francisco.
Amaro said Victorino has no plans to drop the appeal, either.
In the interim, Victorino can continue to play until his appeal is heard
Whenever that will be.
E-mail John R. Finger at email@example.com