Struggling Polanco gets break vs. Giants

Struggling Polanco gets break vs. Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel continues to tinker, searching for a way to score a few more runs a little more consistently.

He settled on his 10th different lineup in 12 games for Wednesday's series finale against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. He put Juan Pierre in the leadoff spot for the fifth time this season, which landed John Mayberry Jr. a spot on the bench. He also started Ty Wigginton at third base, putting Placido Polanco on the bench.

Polanco is really struggling, hitting .179 (7-for-39) with one double and one RBI. He is not hitting balls hard and he has six strikeouts, giving him one strikeout every 6.83 plate appearances. That statistic is noteworthy because Polanco struck out just once every 11.89 plate appearances last season, which was the third-best mark in baseball. In his career, Polanco has struck out just once every 14.72 plate appearances.

That is a big reason why Manuel likes Polanco in the No. 2 spot in the lineup. He makes contact.

But right now, he's doing less of that and not hitting balls hard.

Could that be a result of lost bad speed?

"You know what I think it is?" Manuel said. "I think Polly has been hitting in a weak hitting position. His timing is off. He's been getting on his front side too quick. He drove the ball to center field real good [in his last at-bat Tuesday]. He showed some quickness the last couple nights. I talked to him a couple days ago. I talked to him about keeping more weight on his backside.

"Sometimes when you get into a bad habit, sometimes it's hard to break. You really don't realize what you're doing. It takes you awhile. I think he's still got some bat speed. He needs to get consistent, of course. He always has been in his career."