MIAMI Charlie Manuel doesnt have the answers any more. Or at least, the Phillies manager doesnt have any new answers for the questions about his banged-up and battered ballclub.
It was easy to hear the exasperation in Manuels voice when he answered questions about the health of some of his key players before Wednesday nights game against the Marlins at Sun Life Stadium. A day ago it was Shane Victorino that the manager struggled to discuss. Wednesday it was Victorino and Placido Polanco.
Manuel has no idea when either player will be back.
I dont know. Well see, Manuel said when discussing his injured players.
It was announced after Tuesday nights 14-2 victory over the Marlins that Victorino had a Grade I sprain of his thumb. Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said the team will decide prior to this weekends series against the Braves whether or not the Gold Glove centerfielder will need another stint on the disabled list.
Meanwhile, Manuel had to write in another name at third base for the third straight game of the series against the Marlins, opting to go with Michael Martinez for the first time at the hot corner after he picked up four RBIs in the last two games.
Polanco was out of the order for the second straight game with a sore back and he plans on visiting a doctor on Thursday when the Phillies return home.
Its not a big thing, Polanco said. We have a day off coming up tomorrow. I can play, its just not comfortable. So they decided to not play me these two games, take advantage of that day off tomorrow, let it rest and heal and come back Friday.
Not only does Polanco expect to play in the All-Star Game next week in Phoenix where he will start for the National League at third base, but he also says he should be ready to go this weekend against the Braves.
The more I've played it made it worse and worse. I think that turf in Toronto made it worse. That didn't help, Polanco said. Something that worries me a little is I'm feeling some numbness on my side, too. So we'll go ahead and make sure it's nothing bad, bad.
Polanco hasnt had a hit since June 30, but had been slumping long before then. Though he set the franchise record with 41 hits during April, Polanco has just 47 hits in May and June. After batting .398 in April, the All-Star is hitting just .232, which Manuel says is attributable to Polancos back.
In the meantime, Manuel is ready to have his lineup back intact as soon as possible. Sure, the Phillies have the best record in baseball, but he says none of that matters at this stage of the season.
We cant afford to replace nobody, Manuel said. Hey, we talk about coming to the ballpark ready to win every day. I didnt sign on to make things easy, I signed on to win.
Elsewhere, Proefrock announced that closer Brad Lidge will pitch in another rehab game on Thursday for Single A Lakewood. Lidge pitched on Monday at Lakewood where he allowed a pair of hits in an inning of work.
Proefrock also said injured starter Joe Blanton threw a bullpen session on Wednesday and Jose Contreras and Roy Oswalt continue to rehab at Citizens Bank Park.
As for Oswalt, he will head to Texas on Friday where he will meet with his doctor to determine what type of injection is needed for his back injury. Oswalt has been out since June 23 with inflammation in his back that the team says should keep him out six to eight weeks.
E-mail John R. Finger at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JRFingerCSN.