Two All-Stars. Two hitting studs. Two potential Gold Gloves. Two spots on the DL.
That’s what the Phillies have right now in Chase Utley and Placido Polanco. Both men were placed on the DL Tuesday — Utley with a thumb sprain and Polanco with elbow inflammation. Greg Dobbs and Brian Bocock were called up from Lehigh Valley. Neither guy hit .200 for the Triple A IronPigs.
This brings the Phillies current DL total to seven guys. In addition to Utley and Polanco, starting catcher Carlos Ruiz is also out with a concussion, although he could be back Saturday.
Starting pitcher JA Happ, who was in the mix for rookie of the year last season, has been out since the beginning of the year. The bullpen is also missing Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin and Antonio Bastardo.
That is only the players currently on the DL. Joe Blanton, Brad Lidge and Jimmy Rollins have also been out.
A year ago, the Mets were killed by injuries en route to a crappy season. Could the same be happening to the loveable bunch from South Philly? Are we now paying the price for two great postseason runs?
In the short term, the Phillies just need to play .500 between now and the All-Star break and hope to stay withing striking distance. Then, get healthy and make a second-half run.
That’s going to be easier said than done. Utley’s prognosis is still up in the air. He could be out two weeks; he could be out 6-8 weeks.
Polanco is on the DL for the second time with elbow soreness. Does this last the rest of the year? Can you completely count on him, or do you shut him done now, have him get surgery, and hope to have him healthy by August?
For now, Greg Dobbs will see time at third, with Juan Castro and Wilson Valdez filling in at second.
The key in the long term is Polanco. If he can get healthy, he gives the team flexibility. Ruben Amaro now needs to find either a second baseman or third baseman since Polanco can fill both spots.
The next few days are going to be key for the Phils chances this season. The first step is to get a prognosis for Utley and how long he’ll be out.
For now, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth need to step up.