Placido Polanco was voted into the All-Star game as a starter yesterday despite a modest .681 OPS that ranks 59th among NL hitters and the third baseman admitted to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he’s been playing through a back injury:
I hate to use excuses, but it doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel right. My back is a little sore. I have a pinched nerve where I feel some numbness in my leg. It’s playable. It’s not painful to the point I can’t play.
Polanco got off to a great start, batting .398 in April, but he’s hit just .219 with an awful .541 OPS in 56 games since then, including 0-for-12 so far in July, dragging his season totals down to career-lows in batting average (.277), slugging percentage (.349), and OPS (.681).
It’s tough to say a player should be benched the day after he’s voted in as an All-Star game starter, but at some point it should become obvious that the Phillies will be better off giving Polanco at least the occasional day off in the second half. He’s not doing anyone any good by playing poorly through the injury every day.
Mets starter Jon Niese left his start Tuesday night against the Cardinals due to left knee pain.
Niese walked two and gave up an RBI single before leaving with a trainer with one out in the bottom of the first inning. He was eventually charged with three earned runs. Robert Gsellman, just up from Las Vegas, took over, making his major league debut under unexpected circumstances.
Niese, who has not pitched well at all since coming over in a trade with the Pirates, is likely to be placed on the disabled list after the game or before tomorrow’s game.
Mark Trumbo still has many chances to hit a home run tonight — it’s only been an inning or so in the Nats-Orioles game — but his weird home run streak is over.
Coming into tonight’s game, Trumbo’s last seven hits had been homers. The all-time record had been 11, set by Mark McGwire back in 2001. The last time Trumbo got a hit that wasn’t a dong was back on August 11. Later in that game, however, he hit a grand slam. After that he went 6 for his next 34, with all those safeties dingers.
But that’s over now. In the first inning tonight he drove in a run with a two-out single. Then he was thrown out trying to stretch it to two. Good job on the RBIs, Mark. Bad job on the base running. Judgment withheld on the homer streak because, really, that’s just kind of weird and cool.