Aug 132011
Phillies 3B Placido Polanco

Phillies 3B Placido Polanco (photo: Rdikeman)

Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco is currently dealing with a nagging sports hernia, and after getting a cortisone shot earlier this week he’s still contemplating his options.  While the shot has helped him deal with the discomfort the condition won’t go away on its own.  It’s basically play with it and try to manage the pain or get surgery.

“I don’t know how much better I’m going to get,” Polanco said Friday per “That’s why I got the shot, to try and play through it. The next couple of days are going to be important.”

No matter what happens in the short term, eventually Polanco is getting cut open.

“I know I am going to need it,” said Polanco regarding surgery, “so why not get it over with? What’s preventing me from having it? Maybe the fact that we are playing for something and you can take it for granted. You don’t know we’re going to be in the playoffs again and we have a pretty good chance, and I don’t want to miss it. It’s fun.”

Polanco is currently undergoing further evaluation by team doctors and intends to decide by Tuesday whether to go under the knife right now.  Even with surgery, the 35 year-old veteran should be ready to go for the playoffs, so it’s an option that needs to be considered.

“You just take your chances and try and get surgery. Six weeks, that’s probably the top [for recovery time]. I’ve heard three weeks, and I’ve heard six weeks. That takes me to the last two weeks of the season.”

If Polanco opts for surgery and is on the shelf for the rest of the regular season, the Phillies will miss his presence but they’ll survive his absence.  Michael Martinez and Wilson Valdez can fill in adequately at third, and while neither can hit, the combination of adding Hunter Pence to the lineup and the return of Roy Oswalt to his place in the Four Horsemen means that the Phillies are going to keep winning regardless.

Ideally Polanco can play through it, ensuring he’s with the team for both the runup to the playoffs and then the postseason itself.  If he opts for surgery there’s no guarantee he’ll be back in time.

“It may take much longer, like Raul [Ibanez] did,” said Phillies general manager, per “I don’t think his issues are as drastic or severe, but there’s no guarantee it will be 4 weeks. It could be much beyond that. So we’d rather take this route and see if he can get through the season and then deal with it after the season.”

That said, surgery may be a risk worth taking.  It’s almost a definite that he’d return in time for the National League Division Series, scheduled to begin on Saturday, October 1.  Getting a veteran leader like Polanco back healthy for the playoffs could provide not only a bump to the lineup but an overall mental boost as well, a huge factor in postseason success.

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