ATLANTA - Placido Polanco walked around the clubhouse yesterday afternoon with a large pack of ice covering most of his left arm, a normal part of his daily battle with the elbow soreness that has sidelined him for the last five games.
Polanco dressed for last night's game but likely will not be able to play until Friday, when the Phillies open a homestand with a series against San Diego.
The third baseman, who is hitting .306, said he thought Friday was a realistic target. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said there was a chance he could be available to play today, but that with an off day tomorrow, the Phillies might wait until they return home to put him back in the lineup.
Polanco had a cortisone shot in the elbow on Sunday, a procedure that usually requires 3 or 4 days of rest. He suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitch on April 21, but he battled through the pain for more than a month.
Polanco said yesterday it was still too early to tell what effect the shot had. Nevertheless, he was encouraged with the results of his MRI showing no structural damage or bone chips, which could have led to a stay on the disabled list.
"It's very tough [to sit out]," Polanco said, "especially when we're not winning."
The Phillies had hoped that Jimmy Rollins would be ready to return on Sunday, when he is eligible to be activated from the disabled list. But Ruben Amaro said yesterday that the shortstop's recovery from the calf strain he suffered May 21 could stretch into next week.
"It may be a little longer than [Sunday], because he just started jogging," Amaro said. "He still has a little bit of tightness, but he's doing much better."
Rollins suffered a midgrade calf strain while warming up for the home opener April 12 and proceeded to miss 5 weeks. He reinjured the muscle five games into his return while running to first base in a 5-1 win over Boston.
Rollins has hit safely in nine of the 12 games he has played this season, including four of five after his first return from the disabled list, and is 14-for-41 with 10 walks, 11 runs and two home runs.
Happ to throw
J.A. Happ hopes to take his next step toward a return tomorrow, when he is scheduled to throw two innings of an extended-spring-training game in Clearwater, Fla. If all goes well, Ruben Amaro said, he could make his first official rehab appearance 5 days later. The Phillies continue to proceed cautiously with their young starter, who has not pitched competitively since April 15, when tightness in his forearm plagued him throughout a start against Houston. Amaro said the soreness has dissipated. Happ threw all of his pitches in a session against hitters on Sunday, but it is still too early to forecast when he might return. He would need several rehab outings to rebuild his arm strength, meaning even the most optimistic of forecasts likely wouldn't have him back until the last week of June.
"He's pretty good," Amaro said. "He's doing all right . . . A lot of it depends on how quickly he gets stretched out and how he feels. We'll go start-to-start like we normally do."
Roy Halladay was named the National League Player of the Week yesterday, 3 days after pitching the 20th perfect game in major league history in a 1-0 win over Florida . . . Jayson Werth, who entered the game in an 0-for-19 slump, returned to the lineup after manager Charlie Manuel gave him a game off Monday . . . Righthander Josh Fogg, signed as a free agent in April, was transferred from the extended spring roster to Double A Reading and started last night vs. New Hampshire.
For more Phillies coverage and opinion, read David Murphy's blog, High Cheese, at http://go.philly.com/highcheese.