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.

A.J. Hinch: “If it was any other time of the year, [José Altuve] wouldn’t be in the lineup.”

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It has been evident throughout the playoffs that Astros second baseman José Altuve’s right knee is bothering him. Altuve battled a right knee issue in July, then banged it up again in Game 2 of the ALDS and it’s been a problem ever since.

Manager A.J. Hinch said that if it were the regular season, he wouldn’t put Altuve in the lineup. Per MLB.com’s Richard Justice, the full quote:

He’s hurt. And if it was any other time of the year, he wouldn’t be in the lineup or wouldn’t be playing. He’d probably be on the DL. … But he’s showing up every day in good spirits, ready to go, giving 100 percent of what he’s got. He should be commended.

Hinch also said of Altuve, “His teammates revere him. The production that he’s doing on one leg is pretty incredible. And he’s trying not to talk about it. And therefore I am.”

During the ALCS, Altuve has hit .250/.368/.313 in 16 at-bats. He has just one extra-base hit but he has racked up three singles and drawn three walks while scoring four runs. Hinch has had Marwin González start at second base Games 3 and 4 and is doing so again on Thursday night in Game 5.