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.
A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.
The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.
As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.
The Braves have traded pitchers Lucas Harrell and Dario Alvarez to the Rangers, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. The Rangers are sending 21-year-old infielder Travis Demeritte to the Braves, per MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan.
Harrell, 31, has made five starts for the Braves this season, posting a 3.38 ERA with a 21/12 K/BB ratio in 29 1/3 innings. The rest of his season has been spent at the minor leagues, including Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo with the Tigers, as well as Triple-A Gwinnett with the Braves.
Alvarez, 27, has an even 3.00 ERA with a 28/5 K/BB ratio in 15 innings of relief for the Braves. He throws from the left side so he’ll give a particular boost to the Rangers’ bullpen when needed.
Demeritte was taken in the first round — 30th overall — by the Rangers in the 2013 draft and was considered the Rangers’ 20th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. This year, with Single-A High Desert, he has hit .272/.352/.583 with 25 home runs and 59 RBI in 378 plate appearances. He has played second base almost exclusively, but has also logged time at shortstop and third base in his minor league career.
Harrell will be arbitration eligible for the first time after the season. Alvarez has accrued only 61 days of service time.