CLEARWATER, Fla. - Two injured Phillies infielders took steps forward Thursday.
Ryan Howard removed the protective boot from his left foot, allowing him to increase his workouts. Placido Polanco took batting practice for the first time since spraining his left ring finger Saturday at Bright House Field.
Polanco said some discomfort remains, but he sounded optimistic. He could be back in the lineup in the next few days.
"I still have to get a little bit of a better grip with less pain," he said at Bright House Field. "If I catch a line drive, it'll hurt."
He expects to take BP again Friday.
Phillies fans have been wondering if the Phillies might have Polanco play second base while Chase Utley is out because of a chronic condition in both knees. That would allow Ty Wigginton to play third. Polanco said he has not been asked about it, but it probably would not happen unless something happens to Jimmy Rollins.
In that case, Freddy Galvis likely would move from second to short, Polanco would move from third to second and Wigginton would play third.
"You know me. I'll do whatever," Polanco said. "We're here to win. I've done it before, right?"
Polanco had been taking things easy this spring. He had sports hernia surgeries in October and has a history of back and elbow problems. The Phillies are hoping to keep him as healthy as possible, which seems imperative with Utley and Howard out.
"I want to be out there playing," Polanco said. "I feel great. Other than (the finger)."
Polanco, 36, was asked if he tires of people mentioning his age.
"They're probably older than me," he said. "It's their opinion. Honestly, I don't care. ... I kind of like it. Maybe I can have a good year and prove them wrong."