CHICAGO -- The frustration is evident in the way Placido Polanco speaks. His sentences are short; his voice is dulled. Four times last season, he was injected cortisone with a large needle and after the fourth shot at the beginning of the postseason, he vowed to never do it again.
"I don't want to have to rely on that after baseball," Polanco said recently.
But the pain in the 35-year-old third baseman's back is too great -- so great that he actually went to the Phillies' training staff and told them he wants another injection to aid the bulging disk. It could happen as soon as Thursday when the team returns home.
Polanco is eligible to be activated from the disabled list Wednesday but that is obviously out of the question. He will need minor-league at-bats before returning and there is no timetable for any progress.
The hope is an injection expedites a recovery.
"I didn't want to get a shot," Polanco said. "I wanted to avoid it. I was the one who came up to them and told them. It's just the second option."
Polanco said he felt fleeting improvement after hitting Friday at Citi Field, but it did not last. He rode a stationary bike in the visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field and gingerly got off the seat.
Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock downplayed Polanco's condition. He noted Polanco had played through the condition earlier this season and wondered aloud if it weren't July and the Phillies weren't 24 games over .500 if Polanco would be playing.
"Our concern is to get him ready for the long haul," Proefrock said. "Our impression is that it's not 'if,' but it's a matter of 'when.'
"We're not in the position where we need to play him."
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