Placido Polanco will get ailing back examined Thursday

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Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco was held out of the starting lineup Wednesday for a second straight game with a pinched nerve in his back.

On Thursday, according to John R. Finger of CSNPhilly.com, the veteran infielder will visit a spinal cord specialist in the Philadelphia area to determine the exact severity of the injury.

Polanco has played through back discomfort for much of the 2011 regular season and it’s showing in his .274/.331/.346 batting line. But he was named to the National League All-Star roster on Sunday and is fully expecting to participate in the Midsummer Classic on July 12 in Phoenix.

“The more I’ve played it made it worse and worse,” said the 35-year-old. “I think that turf in Toronto made it worse. That didn’t help. Something that worries me a little is I’m feeling some numbness on my side, too. So we’ll go ahead and make sure it’s nothing bad, bad.”

None of that sounds good, but Polanco has pledged to play through the injury and the Phillies — without a better option at the hot corner — should continue allowing it. He may need regular days off down the stretch.

Pirates suspend Keone Kela two games for contract violation

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On Monday, the Pirates announced the club suspended reliever Keone Kela two games for an unspecified contract violation. Kela will begin serving the suspension tonight.

Kela, 26, went on the injured list in early May with a right shoulder injury. He was on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis for the last week and a half. Prior to the injury, Kela posted a 4.63 ERA with an 11/4 K/BB ratio in 11 2/3 innings.

After sitting out Monday and Tuesday, Kela can rejoin the Pirates on Wednesday in the middle of their four-game home series against the Cardinals.