PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies hope to have Jose Contreras and Joe Blanton pitching in the bullpen next month.
Contreras has been on the disabled list since June 20 with a strained right forearm, and Blanton has been on the DL since May 16 with right elbow inflammation. They have been playing catch recently. The Phillies said their next step is building up enough arm strength to begin throwing off the mound.
"I'm just hoping to get them back in September," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
Decision on surgery coming soon for Polanco
PHILADELPHIA -- The next few days are critical for Placido Polanco.
Polanco received a cortisone injection Tuesday to treat a sports hernia, which he said has bothered him for about a month. He said Friday he felt a little better, although the next few days will go a long way toward deciding whether or not he needs surgery.
The third baseman said surgery could keep him off the field anywhere from three to six weeks. Three or four weeks would not be a problem, because he would have enough time to get back on the field and play. But six weeks would put his return at the end of the regular season, which would make him ill-prepared for the postseason.
"I'm going to need the surgery, so why not get it over with?" Polanco wondered. "But what's preventing it? We're playing for something. You can't take it for granted. You don't know when you'll be in the playoffs again. We have a pretty good chance. I don't want to miss it. This is when it gets fun. ... I don't know how much better I'm going to get in two days. That's why I got the shot -- to try to play through it. They said they think they can manage it. I trust them."
"We think the shots will help, but we won't know until he starts doing some baseball stuff," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
Polanco said on a 1-10 scale, his pain was a nine in San Francisco, when he last played. He said it was a six on Friday.
"I feel it just standing here," Polanco said.
Phils give slugger Cust a shot with Minors deal
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies signed outfielder Jack Cust to a Minor League contract on Friday. He has reported to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Cust, 32, hit .213 with three home runs and 23 RBIs in 225 at-bats this season with the Seattle Mariners, who released him last week. He is a left-handed hitter that could help the Phillies in September and possibly beyond, if they like what they see in Lehigh Valley.
"He's a power bat," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "We don't have a ton of power off the bench right now. We don't have a guy that is that kind of a threat, so we thought it was worth a shot to see what he's got."
Howard elected to AFL Hall of Fame
PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Howard has been elected to the Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame.
Howard played for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in 2004.
"It's always an honor to be recognized and go into a Hall of Fame," Howard said. "If people take the time out to recognize you, you have to be appreciative. I had a good time out there."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.