PHILADELPHIA -- Third baseman Placido Polanco will travel with the Phillies to Miami on Sunday and continue to work out with the team while he works his way back from a back injury.
On the 15-day disabled list with lower back inflammation since July 23, Polanco has been limited to taking ground balls the last few days. When he is ready, it's reasonable to believe he will likely need at least a brief rehab assignment to get some at-bats under his belt before he returns to the Phillies.
"He has good days and bad days," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He can go three or four days or two or three days, he feels fine. And all of a sudden, he still gets some pain every now and then."
Polanco, a sure-handed fielder, is hitting .255 in 82 games this season. Kevin Frandsen, who started at the hot corner for the 12th straight game on Saturday, has performed well in Polanco's absence. Frandsen entered Saturday's game hitting .342.
Nix gets rare start for Phillies, bats fifth
PHILADELPHIA -- With Domonic Brown, Nate Schierholtz and John Mayberry Jr. getting extended looks in the outfield, veterans like Juan Pierre and Laynce Nix have seen less playing time.
Nix, who can play either corner outfield position or first base, got his first start since July 31 on Saturday night against the Cardinals. He played left field and batted out of the five-hole.
"Nix can hit," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's productive. He produces runs off the bench. ... I definitely want to get him some playing time, if possible."
In the first portion of the season, Nix performed well as a platoon player in left field and first base, as well as off the bench as a pinch-hitter. A calf strain in early May knocked him out more than two months, and since returning on July 22, he made only two starts before Saturday.
On the season, Nix is hitting .290 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 33 games.
Said Manuel: "If we expect to get our bench to play better, we definitely have to put them in the game every now and then."
Schierholtz started in center field for the second straight game on Saturday. In his first career start at the position in Friday's 3-1 win, Schierholtz caught the only fly ball that was hit his way. "He definitely can go toward the alley and get the ball in right field, and I wanted to see him play in center," manager Charlie Manuel said, adding Schierholtz has a strong arm. "We can definitely experiment [with] some guys there."
Former Phillies catcher and recent Hall of Fame inductee Tim McCarver threw out of the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday's game. Fellow Hall of Famer Steve Carlton, McCarver's former battery mate, was on the receiving end of the pitch.
The Stephen Starr-Garry Maddox Barbeque Challenge was held outside Citizens Bank Park on Saturday afternoon as part of the Phillies Alumni weekend.
Jake Kaplan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.