MIAMI -- Phillies closer Ryan Madson will not be back before the All-Star break.
That is not earth-shattering news. Madson has not pitched since June 18 because of inflammation in his right hand, and he only started to play catch this weekend in Toronto. Madson will need to throw off a mound at least a couple times before he rejoins the bullpen. He might even need to make a rehab appearance or two.
Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said he hopes Madson throws a bullpen session before the break.
"He's getting real close," manager Charlie Manuel said.
But close means possibly coming back July 15, when the Phillies resume play after the break.
Polanco says pain won't keep him out of ASG
MIAMI -- Placido Polanco's back has been an issue for some time, but he figures a couple more innings at the All-Star Game next Tuesday in Phoenix can't hurt.
Fans voted Polanco, 35, as the National League's starting third baseman. He said because this might be his final All-Star Game and because he likely only will play a couple innings, he plans to play.
"I won't probably make it any worse," Polanco said.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he is OK with Polanco playing.
"I think it's a big honor for him," he said. "Actually, he starts the game at third base, and he's probably going to get one at-bat, maybe two. I think that's not going to hurt him."
Polanco has hit just .161 (14-for-87) with two doubles, one home run and eight RBIs in 24 games since June 5. He has hit just .219 since April ended.
Polanco said he has considered getting a cortisone injection to help his back pain. (Polanco said Sunday in Toronto he has a pinched nerve, which sometimes causes numbness in his leg.) But he said after receiving several cortisone injections last season for an injured elbow, he wants to stay away from shots.
"When I'm done playing baseball, I don't want to be relying on shots," he said.
So then, does Polanco just play through it the rest of the season?
"Yeah, but hopefully it gets better," he said.
So far it hasn't.
Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels will pitch Sunday against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park, which makes him ineligible to pitch in next Tuesday's All-Star Game. ... Right-hander Brad Lidge (strained right rotator cuff) made a rehab appearance Monday with Class A Lakewood. He allowed two hits in one scoreless inning. He threw 15 pitches (nine strikes). ... Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton (right elbow inflammation) threw a bullpen session on Monday in Clearwater, Fla. ... Right-hander Jose Contreras (strained right forearm) continues to rest his arm before resuming his throwing program.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.