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Placido Polanco's 'broken' elbow officially defines 2010 Phillies as walking wounded warriors

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"KEEP ON PHIGHTIN' WITH JOE VALLEE"

For a split second this week, it appeared that for the first time all season, the Phillies were almost completely healthy.

Not even close.

First came the news that Brad Lidge (again) has elbow tenderness. We are all cringing at this because Lidge's injuries are always more serious than indicated. However, he is reportedly good to go on Friday. In saying that, I seriously would rest him any chance possible. Roy Halladay  is going against the Mets (knock wood), and everyone hopes he can get out of his mini-funk (and let me make this clear- Halladay's funks are most pitcher's best days) and give this bullpen a rest.

The next night, Jimmy Rollins comes up limp with hamstring tightness. The injury is not considered too serious, and Rollins is listed as day-to-day.

Now comes the REAL tip of the iceberg.

Third baseman Placido Polanco has told the Associated Press that he is playing with a broken left elbow. Several things came to mind after hearing this tonight.

After the initial shock of hearing that someone is playing with a broken elbow,Polanco and Utley: kindred spirits? Photo: http://media.washtimes.com I stopped and thought that this is really par for the course this year with the Phillies. This team has battled almost every injury known to man this year. Some have survived (Chase Utley), some weren't so lucky (Jamie Moyer).

Polanco has had issues all season with that elbow, which probably explains his decrease in power (Polanco hit 10 home runs last year), as well as his prolonged slumps at certain points this season. Polanco will also set a career high for strikeouts in 2010 despite having finished first or second in his respective league in fewest strikeouts per at-bat since 2006. In saying this, Polanco is still 9th in the league in hitting, and currently is the second toughest batter to fan in the National League (Houston's Jeff Keppinger is first).

Polanco says that the rehab for the surgery is about a month long and the operation itself is approximately about 30 minutes. If he were operated on now, he would obviously miss the post season if the Phillies get there. Although it's considered a "slight break," a broken elbow is a broken elbow. You're either pregnant or you're not. You feel me.

This is yet another reason why Polanco was one of my favorite players during his first go-round in Philly, and why he still is almost a decade later. With this declaration (which the incredibly private Phillies brass might not be exactly thrilled with), Polanco has officially catapulted himself into "Chase Utley Status" as a walking wounded warrior. If the Phillies go on to win it all this year, we will be talking about this injury just like we still talk about Utley's hip injury in 2008. With no disrespect to Lidge and Rollins whatsoever, a 'broken' elbow takes the cake.

Final Thought:

To notch 81 victories at this time with almost your entire starting lineup injured at different times this season truly speaks volumes for how good the Phillies really are. Ryan Howard  didn't seem fazed when Rollins went down Wednesday. By this time they are used to it. Although this team can drive you crazy at times (getting swept by the Astros at home), it is a resilient bunch and they redeem themselves pretty quickly. Despite the injuries which have plagued them all season, the Phils will carry on. The pennant race has officially begun and there is no time to heal. Just some rest here and there.

They have no choice but to "Keep On Phightin.'"

Read of the week:

Time for the no-show Mets- Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo- to just go away

This gem of an article by NY Daily News columnist Mike Lupica discusses how the three previously mentioned "Muts" skipped a team trip to visit wounded soldiers at a Washington medical center earlier this week. Although Beltran and Castillo defended their actions, doesn't it just sum up the Mets?  Love it!!!!

Joe Vallee is a lifelong Phillies fan and former Phillies batboy. Joe has claimed to have seen about 98% of every Phillies game since the early 1980's.

Contact Joe at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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