Placido Polanco signed a three-year, $18 million contract to be the Phillies third baseman three winters ago.
It was somewhat interesting because Polanco had made just five starts at third base since 2004 and none after 2005. Polanco had also won a pair of Gold Gloves as a second baseman with the Detroit Tigers.
Although Polanco has battled health issues - he was out of the starting lineup for the seventh straight game on Thursday after tweaking his back injury last week - he hasn't had any problems fielding his position at third. Taking over for the sure-handed Pedro Feliz, Polanco handled the transition from second to third smoothly, capped with winning Gold Glove honors last season.
He was just the second player in baseball history to win a Gold Glove at two different positions.
With that kind of pedigree, it was worth asking Polanco what he thought about moving from second to third, in light of Wednesday's news that Chase Utley was taking ground balls at third base for a possible transition of his own.
Polanco said you have to be on your toes more, since the ball comes quicker to third, and that, obviously, "it’s a longer throw. You have to really, really anticipate the play becase you don’t have a lot of time to think once the ball is hit."
That said, Polanco thinks Utley has the tools and work ethic to make it work.
"Chase is an athlete, he has great hands," Polanco said. "I’m pretty sure he’s going t have to get used to it. Going to have to do long toss, stretch....
"If he gets (to the ballpark) at 1, he’s going to have to get here at 11. You have to really stretch your arm."