ST. LOUIS - This has become a familiar situation for Ruben Amaro Jr. and his roster management. The Phillies general manager has twice been faced with injuries that did not appear to need two weeks to heal, so he was reluctant to put those players on the disabled list for 15 days.
In both of those cases, Carlos Ruiz's back and Roy Oswalt's back, the players eventually spent time on the disabled list. Amaro does not believe Shane Victorino's sore right hamstring will require such a move, but the centerfielder is in limbo.
Victorino sat for the third straight game Tuesday, and Amaro estimated he could miss at least the next two days as well.
"We're going to be cautious with him," Amaro said. "We don't want him to injure it any further."
Even though Victorino has noted progression in the hamstring and has participated in batting practice, the Phillies have planned more medical tests when the team returns home Wednesday. An MRI exam is possible, Amaro said.
The team's athletic training staff believes the strain to be a Grade 1, meaning it is minor. But that cannot be known without an MRI exam.
For now, the Phillies will play a man down.
"We've had a couple of those situations this year where guys have had in-between injuries," Amaro said. "You don't want to put him on the 15-day DL because you think he's going to get back quicker. But it's been difficult this year to manage that."
Victorino's injury has provided playing time for John Mayberry Jr., and Amaro noted that even if Victorino were to go on the disabled list, that's who would be playing.
"If we have to lose him for a week and manage our way through it, I'd rather do that than having to wait for him to come back after two weeks," Amaro said.
Victorino said he has had trouble pushing off the right leg but said he was feeling better. As for a return, he also was unsure.
"I don't know," he said.
Charlie Manuel promised to be careful with Ruiz's workload when the starting catcher came off the disabled list. Tuesday was an example of that. The manager sat Ruiz because the team's charter flight following the finale with the Cardinals was scheduled to land in Philadelphia at 3 a.m. He'll play Ruiz on Wednesday.
"He's feeling fine," Manuel said. Ruiz echoed that statement.
Ruiz is 1 for his last 32 since April 15. Manuel said the catcher did not yet have his timing down at the plate. Ruiz said he was not thinking about it.
"I feel real good," he said. "I don't want to put too much pressure on myself."
Chase Utley took a scheduled day off Tuesday and will return to the lineup of the single-A Clearwater Threshers on Wednesday against Charlotte at Bright House Field.
Amaro said Utley was scheduled to play the entire game in the field, as he did Monday.
Utley will have some company in Clearwater. Jose Contreras (elbow) will pitch in his first rehab game Wednesday. Amaro said Contreras would have to pitch "a couple times, at least." . . . Top prospect Domonic Brown (sprained thumb) returned to triple-A Lehigh Valley's lineup after a five-game absence. . . . Placido Polanco was in the lineup after a day off Monday. Manuel said that the third baseman had some minor back soreness, but that he could have played. Polanco pinch-hit Monday and struck out. . . . With Monday's loss, the Phillies became the final team in the majors to endure a three-game losing streak.
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