A New Polanco in 2012? The Phillies Hope So, but are Prepared if Not.
Placido Polanco is scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut Monday.
Polanco was hamped by various injuries last season and had hernia surgery this off season. While Polano made the all-star game with a fine first-half, he really struggled after the break playing just 17 games combined in July and August hitting .228 during that stretch.
The slick fielding third basemen has become known more for his defense then his offense, which wasn't supposed to be the case with the career .301 hitter came back to Philly. Now 36, the Phillies are being careful and cautious with Polanco in hopes that he can again be the professional hitter he has been throughout his career.
Many penciled Polanco into the no. two spot in the Phillies order, hitting behind Jimmy Rollins giving the Phillies speed with Rollins and a guy who knew how to hit the other way and behind runner in Polanco. However, Polanco appeared in just 67 games - hitting .310 in games in the two-spot.
Polanco is an important guy iN the Phillies line-up. He is one Phillie who puts the ball in play and rarely strikes out. However, last season, it seemed when Poly put the ball in play, he rolled it over to shortstop - weakly. By the time the playoffs were here, people were askign for Polanco to be benched or hit for late in games.
Now the 36-year-old will be looking for a bounce-back year and says he's not limited at all saying: "I’ve been taking ground balls, hitting, running, I think I’m good to go."
The Phillies are hoping Polanco can be the guy they brought over here two seasons ago. However, this time they are prepared if he is not. The team went out and got veteran hitter Ty Wiggington who can give the offense a lift if Polanco is struggling.
Either way, a healthy Polanco might be just the lift the Phillies order is looking for in 2012.