LOS ANGELES — The 35-year-old body of Placido Polanco has progressively failed him, beginning with the bone spurs in his right elbow that required surgery last winter, to the bulging disk in his back that sent him to the disabled list earlier this season, and the news now is no better.
Polanco has a sports hernia, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Monday. Surgery could be next. First, Polanco will receive an anti-inflammatory injection Tuesday in Philadelphia and team doctors will examine him Friday to see if the pain is manageable.
If not, surgery could sideline Polanco for up to a month, Amaro said. For now, Polanco will not go on the disabled list even though Amaro admitted it's unlikely Polanco can play before the end of this weekend.
"Frankly, a lot of guys have sports hernias," Amaro said. "It's a matter of whether the discomfort is so great that he can't play. If it is, we'll have a procedure done and go from there."
It's a chronic issue, Amaro said, because an MRI revealed scar tissue in Polanco's groin area that had built up over time. Amaro, always optimistic, believes surgery can be avoided.
"I think we can manage him through it," he said. "We'll find out more Friday."
Raul Ibanez played through a hernia in 2009 and underwent offseason surgery in the winter. Amaro said he does not think Polanco's injury is as serious as Ibanez's was.
"Ibanez's was pretty debilitating to him," Amaro said.
Polanco's current .275 batting average and .342 slugging percentage would mark career lows since his rookie season of 1998 when he appeared in only 45 games as a part-time player. Between the back and hernia injuries, his steadying presence at the plate has been diminished greatly.
In the meantime, Amaro was adamant that Michael Martinez and Wilson Valdez would man third base — even if Polanco is absent for an extended period. Martinez started at third Monday for the second straight game. He received the majority of playing time in the 19 games Polanco missed with the bad back.
"We have guys who can fill in fine," Amaro said. "They will be the ones who will play."
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