In Chase Utley and Placido Polanco, the Phillies have two of the most consistent, reliable hitters in baseball. Really, they have the luxury of two No.3-hole hitters on one team.
But after Utley's right thumb injury Monday night (still no word on the severity - should know in another 2 hours) and with Polanco still nursing a left elbow injury that won't go away, that former luxury is now two gaping holes in a lineup that can't get healthy.
So what's next? Well, that all depends on the severity of Utley's injury. If he's only out for a few days or even a 15-day DL stint, they can't find a way to get by. If he's out for longer, they're going to need to pull a Tadahito Iguchi. (Surely you remember when they traded Rich Dubee's kid away to get Iguchi when Utley hurt his wrist a few years ago).
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported that the team was expected to place both Utley and Polanco on the DL today.
But Polanco's status could make a trade like that one even more necessary. I got a phone call this morning from a well-placed person in Philly who was told Polanco was spotted at Citizens Bank Park today.
Since it's a second hand source, who knows if there's any validity to it. But Charlie Manue said Monday he preferred for them to "get him well, where this doesn't keep re-occurring."
So is it possible the Phillies would open up Polly's elbow, clean out/fix bone spurs? I guess. If it's something that can be taken care of and get him back on the field in a few short weeks, the luxury of the All-Star break might help.
And with Utley's availability for the long term unknown, and Jimmy Rollins' right calf still an unknown for the duration of the season, you better believe the injury-plagued Phillies are examining all options.