Ever since getting hit by a pitch against the Braves at the tail-end of April, third baseman Placido Polanco has had serious trouble with his left elbow. He would be forced to miss a few games here and a few games there, but always avoided the DL until recently.
Now, with Polanco set to come off the DL, he's talking about being on the field as early as Saturday, when the Phillies will be in the middle of a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs.
"My elbow feels good right now," he said. "It feels better than it did the last two or three weeks when I was playing."
That's certainly good news for the Phillies, but the team also has to make sure Polanco isn't rushing himself back the way Jimmy Rollins did. Rollins' initial return from a calf injury was short-lived after he reinjured himself almost immediately.
Since he aggravated the injury, it's likely it cost him more time on the DL than if he had simply waited until he was 100 percent.
With Polanco, it's likely he won't be 100 percent until he has surgery to remove a bone spur in his elbow. At least, that's the opinion of the Cincinnati team doctor, who told Polanco he should have the surgery "right away."
The surgery, however, would have cost Polanco at least two months of the season — something he was unwilling to do, and something he says can be taken care of after the season.
"If it's bothering me, without a doubt (I'll have the surgery), because I don't want to think about it," he said.
So while everyone else is enjoying their All-Star break, Polanco said he will be working out Tuesday and Wednesday, then playing a game on Thursday in Class-A Clearwater, and a Friday game with the Phillies' rookie-league team.
Finally, on Saturday, he should be back at third base and retaking his spot in the lineup behind Jimmy Rollins.