Polanco nearing start of rehab assignment

While most of his teammates will spend the next few days resting and relaxing, Placido Polanco will head to Clearwater, Fla., where he will continue working his way back from a sore elbow that has sidelined him since June 25.

Polanco wouldn't rule out the possibility of his returning to the line-up at some point during the Phillies' four-game series in Chicago, which starts Thursday and runs through Sunday. But the following series in St. Louis still sounds more realistic.

The Phillies hope is that Polanco plays in some rehab games by the end of the week, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said prior to the team's first half finale against the Reds on Sunday afternoon.

Polanco participated in baseball activities, including hitting, for the third consecutive day. The veteran third baseman, whose .318 batting average leads the team, said his elbow has responded well to swinging, an activity that had caused him pain since late April, when he was hit on the elbow by a pitch in Atlanta.

Polanco's condition has officially been diagnosed as triceps tendinitis in his left (glove) arm. The original prognosis called for two weeks of complete rest, followed by a gradual return to competitive action. The Phillies were hopeful that Polanco would be back in the line-up three to four weeks after his last game. Right now, it sounds like he is closer to the front end of that timeframe.