Polanco has MRI on lower back, remains out

Polanco has MRI on lower back, remains out

Polanco has MRI on lower back, remains out
PHILADELPHIA -- If the Phillies had any shot at trading Placido Polanco before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, it might have passed.

Polanco had a MRI on his sore lower back Tuesday. The results of that exam were not immediately available, but he was unavailable to play for the second consecutive day.

The Orioles had expressed some interest in Polanco, who is hitting .255 with two home runs, 19 RBIs and a .628 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, which is 119 points below his career average. Since raising his average to a season-high .294 on June 4, Polanco has hit just .184 with eight RBIs and a .494 OPS. But Polanco still plays solid defense, and can play both third base and second base.

It is unlikely the Phils would get much in return for Polanco, which also is why they are not aggressively trying to trade him. If the Phillies had a choice between trading Polanco for nothing or holding him through the remainder of the season, they just might hold onto him because they have no clear options to play third other than Ty Wigginton and Mike Fontenot.

Polanco has a $5.5 million mutual option for next season with a $1 million buyout. The Phils are expected to take the buyout, if it comes to that point, which means they will be looking for a third baseman in the offseason.

The club has no third-base prospects close to competing in the big leagues.

"Third base is a position that has changed a little bit," manager Charlie Manuel said. "A prototype third baseman used to be a RBI guy, a guy that had a pretty good glove, arm, had some power and knocked in runs. They play smaller guys there now, good defensive players. A big prototype third baseman is hard to find."

For now, it looks like they will stick with Polanco, if and when he gets back on the field.