Polanco Ready for Third

polanco at third.jpgSpring Training is here.

Phillies pitchers and catchers have their first official workout today at the Carpenter Complex. Twenty-eight pitchers and seven catchers are accounted for. Charlie Manuel is ready to roll.

“That’s what we’re here for, son,” he said. “Ready to roll.”

Placido Polanco arrived last night. His shift from second base to third base is one of this spring’s storylines. Polanco has played 321 games at third in his career, but none since 2005, when he played eight games there for the Phillies and one game there for the Tigers. But while Polanco has experience there, he replaces Pedro Feliz, who played nearly flawless third for the Phillies for two seasons.

Polanco, who won two Gold Gloves at second in the past three seasons with the Tigers, is taking the shift seriously.

“This offseason I really worked hard, taking ground balls at third, long tossing and doing what I think is right,” said Polanco, who worked out with a friend at a high school near his home in Miami. “I’ve taken more ground balls than I probably have before. Building up my arm. I like it. It’s not like riding a bike (going back to third). It’s a longer throw. There are different thoughts, where you have to go on a base hit, things like that.

“I’m not too worried because in Spring Training we play a lot of games, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be seeing a lot of action in the field. That’s when you have to get your mind ready. You have to focus more.”

Polanco said he worked out nearly 30 minutes at third every day, which is a pretty good work out. (A fellow reporter takes ground balls for a few minutes every spring and his hamstrings bark for weeks.)

“I also had to do weights. I had to run. I had to do other stuff,” Polanco said. “I had to pick up the kids at school. A half hour taking ground balls for one person is a lot. It’s like hitting. If you hit 15 minutes with a group you might have four or five guys hitting with you. But if you’re hitting 10 minutes by yourself … you know what I mean? Of course, some of that was talking. OK, so maybe 20 minutes. Twenty and 10.”

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: Philadelphia Phillies” is available online, and will be in bookstores in the Delaware Valley in late February/early March.

1 Comment

Welcome back to the Phamily Placido. Lookin’ forward to seeing you destroy NL pitching this year.

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