Results tagged ‘ Placido Polanco ’

Can Young Play Third Base?

Michael Young stood in front of his locker this morning at Bright House Field and answered a familiar question.

Can he play third base?

Placido Polanco answered the same question in Spring Training 2010 after he spent previous seasons playing second base with the Tigers. Now Young, like Polanco, must prove he can handle third again. He played there regularly with the Rangers from 2009-10 (and 358 games in his career) before shuffling around the field the previous two seasons. And although he is not known for his glove like Polanco, the Phillies hope Young can handle the position competently.

“I’ve played there before,” Young said. “I have experience playing third base. I’ve had a full season over there. I’ve played in the World Series at third base before. As far as re-acclimating myself to it, it’s nothing a little hard work can’t fix. That’s why I was looking forward to getting down here.”

Young, 36, spends his offseasons in Dallas, so he worked indoors, which included fielding ground balls.

“Those are things that are part of normal offseason preparation heading into a season,” he said. “Then you get down here and you’re ready to go and the second they say, ‘Go, in Spring Training, you put your work in and you’re ready for Opening Day.”

While defense certainly will be important, the Phillies hope Young produces offensively. He suffered a career-low .682 OPS last season, but he said he believes he solved a mechanical flaw in his swing late in the year, which allowed him to hit .301 with an .801 OPS in September. If he can replicate that success over a six-month span in 2013, the Phillies will be thrilled.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Young said. “Whatever (manager Charlie Manuel) needs me to do, I’ll do. I know right now my role is to play third base every day and it’s something I’m looking forward to, but I’m prepared to do anything my team needs me to do to help them win games.”

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Young lives in Dallas, so he got the Are you a Cowboys fan?!?!?! question. He said yes. Honestly, if that bothers anybody here I’m worried. The guy lives in Dallas, of course he’s a Cowboys fan. Better yet, who cares?

Polanco Adjusts to Reserve Role

Charlie Manuel said earlier this week that while Placido Polanco can play, Kevin Frandsen will get the majority of playing time at third base the rest of the season.

In other words, Polanco, who has been an everyday player the majority of his 15-year career, is a bench guy.

Polanco said today that Manuel called him into his office to tell him about his decision.

“If I can’t play, I can’t play,” said Polanco, who has battled a back problem and other injuries this season. “He’s the manager. Right now, my hands are tied. I can’t really say much. I played the other day (Aug. 22) and I hurt it again. What am I going to say? Put me in? I told him, if I was healthy then this would be another conversation. But I’m not healthy.”

The Phillies have a $5.5 million option or a $1 million buyout on Polanco’s contract next season. The Phillies will take the buyout, which is one reason why Chase Utley is thinking about giving third base a try. That leaves Polanco’s future in baseball uncertain. He said he does not know what is going to happen, but he would like to play if he is healthy.

That is a big if.

“I have a lot of energy, I love the game and this is what I’ve been doing my entire life,” said Polanco, who estimates he has received about 10 cortisone injections over the course of his career. “But I have to be healthy. If I’m not healthy they can offer me $100 million and I’m not going to go out there.”

How Much Will Polanco Play?

Placido Polanco knows his schedule for the next few days.

After that, it’s anybody’s guess.

He planned to drive to Clearwater, Fla., following today’s series finale against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. He will begin a rehab assignment tomorrow with Class A Clearwater, playing six innings in the field. He will DH on Friday, play nine innings in the field Saturday and fly to Philadelphia on Sunday.

He expects to be activated from the 15-day disabled list Monday. Polanco has been on the DL since July 23 because of lower back inflammation. He said he feels 100 percent, although he has some lingering tightness.

“I don’t feel anything that I had, the pinching, the strain,” he said.

Polanco said he believes he can play every day upon his return.

“I expect to be the everyday third baseman, but what I expect and what is going to happen could be two different things,” he said.

Charlie Manuel said earlier this week it is unlikely Polanco can play every day because of his back. Kevin Frandsen also has played well at third base. He entered today’s series finale hitting .315 with one home run and two RBIs. But Polanco is a superior defensive third baseman, and certainly Phillies pitchers would like to see him on the field.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Polanco said. “I just want to be healthy for whatever. If he plays me he plays me. If not …”

Deep Thoughts …

Hola, amigos.

I’ve been laying low a few days, recharging the batteries and getting back to neutral after a long first half. But I’m back and it’s a gorgeous afternoon at Dodger Stadium. Things are good. Well, things are good except for the Phillies. They are 39-51, 14 games behind the Nationals and 11 games behind the Wild Card leaders — even after taking 2 of 3 from the Rockies this weekend.

I know a lot has been written about the next couple weeks, but I thought I’d offer my take.

In no particular order:

  • The Phillies will make their best offer to Cole Hamels soon. I expect him to reject it, unless he is absolutely blown away. What does that mean? Well, the Phillies signed Cliff Lee to a five-year, $120 million contract in Dec. 2010. If the Phillies offer Hamels five years, $125 million or five years, $130 million with some sort of sixth-year option or whatever, I don’t think that’s going to blow him away. I just don’t. Now, a seven year, $175 million offer might get the job done, but I’m not sure the Phillies will go that far. Hamels has said everything right over the past couple weeks. He says he wants to stay in Philadelphia. He says he trusts the organization will do everything it can to be competitive next season and beyond. But he also says this is one of the only times in his life he can discover his true value. Hamels is two or three months away from free agency. Really, why sign now?
  • If Hamels doesn’t sign I think the Phillies must trade him. I have read a lot of stories about how the new salary arbitration rules could hurt the Phillies’ chances of getting a big haul for him because a team won’t receive compensatory draft picks if he leaves after the season. I don’t believe that. Let’s look at the Rangers, for example. If the Rangers believe they are one piece away from winning a World Series, are they really going to hold up a deal because they don’t want to trade Double-A third baseman Mike Olt? He might be one of the best prospects in baseball, but at the moment he is just a prospect. Big teams have to roll the dice and take a shot. You play to win the World Series. The Phillies rolled the dice the past few seasons. They came up short, but at least they took a shot. Of course a team like the Pirates won’t give the Phillies what they want because they have no shot at signing Hamels following the season and they’re more than one piece away from winning the World Series. But a team like the Rangers or Angels? If push comes to shove I think somebody will put together an attractive package for Hamels.
  • The Phillies will take a PR hit for trading Hamels, but they shouldn’t let that influence their decision making. Bad PR today will be forgotten if they make a great trade and the Phillies make the playoffs next season. In the end, winning is the only thing that matters. Players come and go, no matter how much they are beloved. (I must say I think it’s a little funny how fans that criticized Hamels for being “soft” will be outraged if he is traded.) Feelings fade. Winning solves everything.
  • Better make a good trade, though. A repeat of the Lee trade to Seattle would be disastrous. DISASTROUS. They have to hit and hit big.
  • Are the Phillies definitely sellers? The Braves and Pirates lead the Wild Car race and are on pace for 90 wins. The Phillies would need to finish 51-21 (.708) to win 90 games. Impossible? No. Highly unlikely? Absolutely. At some point you have to look at things realistically. Sure, the Phillies might get hot, but even if they get hot and play .667 baseball the rest of the way they finish 87-75, which still would be short of the postseason. And then you’ll feel like a real sap if Hamels and others walk after the season.
  • Asking prices for Shane Victorino, Placido Polanco and others remain high as they should. Those prices could drop, but I don’t think the Phillies will give away those guys, either. That wouldn’t make sense for a few reasons: First, if a team only wants to give up a couple marginal prospects for Victorino, you might as well keep him, let him walk after the season and collect the draft picks. Second, they’re not compelled to trade them. They’re not in a salary dump situation. Third, the Phillies have nobody to play those positions the remainder of the season. I’m not sure the Phillies want to trade guys like Victorino and Polanco for nothing and have John Mayberry Jr. roaming center field and Ty Wigginton and Mike Fontenot manning third base.

That’s all for now.

Agree? Disagree?

Blanton Keeps Winning

A quick turnaround today. The tarp is on the field, but the Phillies and Astros are going to try to play.

If the game is postponed, I’ll let you know via Twitter ASAP.

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Joe Blanton allowed one run in seven innings in last night’s 5-1 victory over Houston. The Phillies have won three of his last four starts, and Blanton has not taken a loss since April 22. What is interesting about that is the Phillies have not won a game Roy Halladay has pitched since April 16 — a stretch of five consecutive starts — and they have not won a game Cliff Lee has pitched all season.

Of course, that is not entirely the fault of Halladay or Lee. The Phillies scored a combined three runs in Lee’s first three starts before the bullpen blew a lead Wednesday against the Mets. Halladay has a 4.59 ERA in his last five starts, but remove that brutal effort against Atlanta on May 2 and he has a 2.89 ERA in the other four.

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Placido Polanco became the 268th player in baseball history to reach 2,000 hits. He is the 17th active player to have 2,000.

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Freddy Galvis had three hits last night. Since he started his career 0-for-12, he is hitting .260 (25-for-96) with nine doubles, one triple, one home run and 15 RBIs. His 15 RBIs rank third on the team. Only Hunter Pence (23) and Carlos Ruiz (23) have more. And that’s more than Placido Polanco (eight) and Jimmy Rollins (six) have combined.

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More and more teams are using the defensive shift, but as of last week the Phillies had employed the defense just once. Sam Perlozzo explains.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here! Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • June 16: Barnes & Noble, Wilmington, Del, 2 p.m.

Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter.

The Four Horses

The Phillies have put April behind them. They finished 11-12 for their first losing month since 2009 and their first losing April since 2007.

But some potentially good signs for the Phillies:

  • While the Phillies rank 14th in the National League averaging 3.30 runs per game, they are averaging 4.62 runs per game since April 23. That is tied for sixth in the league in that stretch.
  • Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco have swung the bats a little better recently.

Small sample sizes there — the pitching the Phillies faced over the last week is nothing like they will face this weekend in Washington — but they are worth noting.

Getting Rollins, Polanco, Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence going is imperative. While there has been endless talk about Ryan Howard and Chase Utley and how much the Phillies miss them in the lineup (and how it’s such a major blow to play without them), it has been the four healthy All-Stars that have hurt this offense the most. David Hale explored this over the weekend, but I wanted to take a look at the final April numbers.

Here is the difference in OPS by position from April 2011, when the Phillies ranked fifth in the league averaging 4.62 runs per game and finished 18-8, and April 2012:

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A Bottom Heavy Offense

Something (kind of) interesting happened last night at Citizens Bank Park.

Placido Polanco went 2 for 4 to raise his batting average to .254. The guy who was hitting .196 on Tuesday now has a higher batting average than Hunter Pence (.253), Shane Victorino (.241) and Jimmy Rollins (.216). That shows you how much those three have struggled lately, but it also shows you how quickly a couple good games this early in the season can spike a batting average.

Rollins, Pence and Victorino combined to go 0-for-12 in last night’s 5-1 loss to the Cubs. The rest of the lineup, excluding the pitcher’s spot, went 7-for-19.

Phillies No. 3 hitters are last in baseball with a .497 OPS. Their cleanup hitters are 19th with a .715 OPS. Rollins and Pence have primarily held those two spots, but a lack of production is a lineup-wide problem. The only two spots in the lineup, excluding the pitcher’s spot, that rank in the top half in baseball in OPS are No. 6 (13th with a .750 OPS) and No. 7 (fourth with a .865 OPS). Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix and Carlos Ruiz have hit sixth in 12 of the team’s 20 games. Ruiz and Nix have hit seventh in 15 of the 20 games.

Nix (1.052), Wigginton (.875) and Ruiz (.796) lead the team in OPS among players with 20 or more at-bats.

Here is a ranking of the lineup’s most productive spots in the order this season, based on OPS:

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Ah, There’s the Offense

The Phillies scored 20 runs in 19 innings to win their first road series of the season and finish 5-5 on a road trip through San Francisco, San Diego and Arizona.

Honestly, after watching the way this trip started, 5-5 seems like quite an accomplishment.

The Phillies hit just .239/.283/.317 with just 27 extra-base hits in their first 16 games. They averaged just 2.7 runs per game in that stretch. But in the three-game series against the Diamondbacks, they hit .327/.351/545 with 13 extra-base hits. They averaged 6.7 runs per game in the series.

Now the trick is keeping it up …

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Jim Salisbury and I are signing copies of The Rotation at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Barnes & Noble in Marlton, N.J.

Father’s Day is coming up! Stop by!

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Has Polanco Lost Bat Speed?

Charlie Manuel continues to tinker, searching for a way to score a few more runs a little more consistently.

He settled on his 10th different lineup in 12 games for tonight’s series finale against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. He put Juan Pierre in the leadoff spot for the fifth time this season, which landed John Mayberry Jr. a spot on the bench. He also started Ty Wigginton at third base, putting Placido Polanco on the bench.

Polanco is really struggling. He is hitting .179 (7-for-39) with one double and one RBI. He is not hitting balls hard and he has six strikeouts, giving him one strikeout every 6.83 plate appearances. That statistic is noteworthy because Polanco struck out just once every 11.89 plate appearances last season, which was the third-best mark in baseball. In his career, Polanco has struck out just once every 14.72 plate appearances.

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Polanco’s Elbow Is OK

So Placido Polanco got hit in the left elbow with a pitch late in last night’s 5-2 victory over the Giants.

Polanco said afterward he is fine. He indicated the ball hit him below the protective armor he wears, but also below the actual elbow. He pointed to an area just below the elbow, which did not seem to have any swelling. In fact, Polanco seemed to be happily eating his postgame meal when we approached him and asked how he was doing. That’s good considering Polanco missed a lot of time in 2010 because of an elbow injury that ultimately required surgery.

But Charlie Manuel offered the best answer to Polanco’s HBP.

“Yeah, he got hit on the elbow,” he joked. “That’s one of his main elbows. He’s only got two. Hit him in the crazy bone.”

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