Placido Polanco “definitely” still bothered by sports hernia

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Placido Polanco went 0-for-8 with three strikeouts in the first two games against the Cardinals and also looked somewhat limited defensively at times, with manager Charlie Manuel admitting yesterday that the third baseman’s sports hernia may still be affecting him.

“I think it bothers him some,” Manuel told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. “He’s missed time because of it, and I think it plays a part in his movement and things. He gets real tight and sore, and I think it definitely bothers him.”

Even before beginning the playoffs with eight hitless at-bats Polanco batted just .243 with a .591 OPS in 96 games following a big April, but he was reasonably productive after returning from the disabled list in late August, hitting .282 with a .682 OPS in 33 games. It seems pretty clear that he’s playing through the pain at less than 100 percent, but that doesn’t preclude him from still being the Phillies’ best option.

Ken Giles: ‘I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston’

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Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”

Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”

Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.