When Placido Polanco signed a three-year, $18 million deal to come back to Philadelphia, most knew he could handle the stick. His glove was the unknown, and although he was a former Gold Glove second baseman (not that that means anything anymore), the tough transition over to the hot corner made many pause. Would he be able to take on such a demanding position at the ripe old age of 34?
There isn’t much to go by through nine games, but so far his defense looks steady, if nothing else. Polanco’s one error puts him on par with Evan Longoria and Andy Laroche, among other stellar defensive third basemen. In yesterday’s Nationals finale, Polly made an unbelievable play as he ran down the third base line into foul ground near the rolled-up tarp and snared the ball over his shoulder as he traveled through the spots of sun and shade. Not an easy play to make in that situation for even the most adept corner infielders, but Polanco made it appear that way. Here is the catch, with a bewildered Adam Dunn looking on.
What makes the transition to third even smoother is the fact that he leads the National League in hitting with a .475 average (19 for 40). Will that torrid pace continue? Probably not, but by the same token he should continue to see hittable pitches slotted behind Rollins/Victorino and just ahead of Chase Utley. The good news is, no one has to worry about the leather he totes, either. Everything has been just fine. For those who questioned the move because of Pedro Feliz’s defensive acumen, all is well at 3B…so far.