MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - Charlie Manuel wouldn't call it a lineup shake-up because he won't say his team is in a slump. That's negative thinking, the manager said.
When he was a 28-year-old bench player for Minnesota in 1972, he said, he was a worrier. Not anymore. It's all about being positive, Manuel said.
So being shut out in four of five games isn't a slump?
"That's not good," Manuel said with a smile. "I'm trying to find the best way to look at it. The best way to look at it is it's a loss, and don't try to make any more out of it. You got to stay positive, man. It is a positive game. I talk all the time about that. Positive is where it's at."
With his team on a three-game scoreless streak, Manuel did not start Jayson Werth and rested Placido Polanco, but for different reasons. Werth is 5 for his last 27 and had one hit in three games against the Mets.
"It looks like he's starting to jump out, starting to press a little bit," Manuel said. "I want him to sit down, relax, and slow the game down."
Polanco has actually been one of the Phillies' best hitters of late. Against the Mets he was 5 for 12 and is hitting .313 in May, up from .299 in April. But Polanco has been bothered with left-elbow soreness ever since he was hit by Atlanta's Tim Hudson on April 21. Manuel said Polanco recently aggravated the injury. He has been playing through it, but Manuel said it was time for a rest.
"The other night, when he jumped and caught the ball, and sometimes when he swings, things like that, it hurts him," Manuel said. "Some days it's worse than others. At the same time, he still feels it when he hits."
Manuel was left with a lineup that featured shortstop Wilson Valdez batting second for just the sixth time in his career and little-used reserves Ross Gload and Greg Dobbs starting.
Polanco said he wanted to play through his injury, especially because of the team's recent struggles. A few hours before Friday's game, Manuel came through the clubhouse and stopped to talk to Polanco. The brief chat of encouragement ended with Manuel patting Polanco on the back.
"Without a doubt, a day off can be beneficial," Polanco said. "You can clear your mind. It depends on how bad it is. Sometimes we call it slump when you don't see results. But you might be hitting balls right at people."
Manuel said he's apt to let a guy hit through a slump, but a day off can help, too. But he shot down the idea of not having batting practice to give his players a mental break.
And he said the tone in the clubhouse has been to his liking.
"Our main guys don't get down," Manuel said. "That's good. That's a good sign. They get mad. They don't get down."
Righthander Brad Lidge stretched and worked out with the rest of the Phillies' pitchers on Friday. But on Saturday, Lidge will get in a car and drive about 90 minutes north to join single-A Clearwater in a game at Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Lidge, who threw two successful bullpen sessions this week, is hoping he needs just one rehab outing before he is ready to return to the Phillies.
"I think that's very possible," Lidge said.
Lidge has been on the disabled list since May 10 with right-elbow inflammation. He received a cortisone shot May 17, which helped end the inflammation.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Mets' shutout sweep of the Phillies was only the third time since 1876 that a first-place team was swept in a three-game series without scoring a run. The others: Boston Red Sox (1974) and Philadelphia A's (1913).