Getting reps. Putting in your time. Reasserting yourself after the offseason break.
Overused terminology referring to a player and Spring Training is a common theme in baseball. None of it currently applies to Placido Polanco. During a spring in which he saw fewer at-bats because of elbow surgery during the winter, and because that elbow flared up again, Polly has certainly come out of the chute with a fluid approach. He seldom played at the end of the exhibition schedule, so as not to aggravate the tender elbow. The only thing he’s aggravating right now is opposing pitching.
After Wednesday night’s 3-for-5 effort, Polly is now 9-for-20 to start the year. He has yet to strikeout and has three walks, a new wrinkle added to his slap-hitting game. Polanco walked just 32 times last year.
He’s thriving in the two-hole between Victorino and Rollins and his teammates are allowing him to touch home with greater frequency. If the elbow holds up, Polly could very well return to being the guy who started hot a season ago before injuries derailed him.
But the trick is keeping him healthy. The onus falls on Charlie Manuel for that to occur. It’s likely Polanco will need regular rest this season, something Manuel is normally slow to provide. Really, he has no choice. Polly is proving to be as deadly as anyone in the order, even it he doesn’t launch baseballs out of the park.
And in the process, he’s proving that six weeks of Spring Training is probably too much.