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.

Giants nearing deal with Cameron Maybin

Cameron Maybin
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The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.

Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.

The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.

In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.