Can The Phillies Count On Polanco?BREAKING NEWS, News, Phillies Saturday, June 2nd, 2012
The 2012 season didn’t start out very well for Placido Polanco. The trusted infielder limped out of the month of April with a sub-par .250 average, which at one point was below .200 during the middle portion of the month. With questions of whether or not he could still be counted on in the lineup, the career .300 hitter strung together a very impressive (and much-needed) hitting display in May.
By month’s end (and into June 1), the Santo Domingo native bumped his average to .284 after going 29-for-99 (.293) in May and three-for-five in the Phillies’ 6-4 win over Miami to open June.
Becoming one of the team’s most reliable hitters once again, Polanco, who is second on the team behind Carlos Ruiz (among qualified players) in batting, will have to continue his sweet swing throughout the season to help alleviate the lack of power in the Phightins’ lineup.
There’s uncertainty around the timetable for return regarding Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, and even when they do come back there’s no way the Phillies can rely on them. With seemingly all of the Philly hitters beginning to find their swings again, having Polanco feeling confident in the batter’s box is definitely important for the Phillies.
But will he maintain this pace for the entire season, and can he remain healthy?
These are two questions that are rightfully attached to Polanco. When he is swinging a hot bat, the Phillies find themselves in a better place. The problem, though, is when injuries strike.
Judging from his career, Polly will more than likely manage a productive batting average and on-base percentage in 2012. However, the 14-year veteran has recently been vulnerable to injuries, something that Philadelphia fans do not want to see. During the Boston Red Sox series, Polanco dealt with a mild sprained ankle. Luckily, it was nothing too serious.
But that’s just it for the 36-year infielder. Whenever things start to go good, there’s always some kind of pull or strain that inflicts Polanco. With so many injuries striking this team, there’s no room for another key player to go down.
Whenever Polanco’s name comes up, there is always going to be a red flag surrounding the discussion. So take his strong month of May with a grain of salt, because with the way the injury bug has been imposing upon the Phillies (and throughout the MLB), there’s an unfortunate anticipation that at some point, Polanco could find himself on the shelf.
On a non-gloomy note, while things weren’t going well at the plate, which was quite often for Polanco in the opening month, there was never a doubt about his glove. Yet to make an error this season, the third baseman leads all players at his position in fielding percentage and is proving to be a heavy favorite for the gold glove at the end of the season. If Polanco and his aging joints can keep strong throughout the year, the Phils should receive a strong season at the plate and in the field from the two-time All-Star.
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