Placido Polanco out with sore back

Updated: October 6, 2010, 10:08 PM ET
By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco was out of the lineup Wednesday for Game 1 of the team's Division Series with the Cincinnati Reds because of what manager Charlie Manuel described as back stiffness.

Manuel said Polanco complained of "stiffness" and "soreness" in "the middle part of his back" during Tuesday's off-day workout and then was "even worse" Wednesday. So when Polanco arrived at Citizens Bank Park, he headed straight for the manager's office.

"He said it hurt when he bent over," Manuel said before Game 1. "He said it hurt when he turned left or right. And he said he didn't think he was going to be able to play."

Polanco
Polanco

Later Wednesday, Polanco said his back had improved.

"It feels a lot better today, and tomorrow I expect to practice and then play Friday," he said.

Polanco said he didn't think he could've pinch-hit in Philadelphia's 4-0 win on Wednesday.

He said his back problem flared up Tuesday evening.

"It was just a spasm," he said. "I'm moving better though, I'm breathing better. I've never had this before, especially the way it happened, doing nothing on that off day."

Polanco has played through bone chips in his elbow for much of the season and missed three games last week after getting a cortisone shot in the elbow.

Because of Polanco's injury, Manuel said, he rearranged the Phillies' lineup. Originally, Shane Victorino was going to lead off, with Polanco hitting second and Jimmy Rollins batting seventh. Instead, Manuel moved Rollins into the leadoff hole, hit Victorino second and inserted Wilson Valdez at third base, batting eighth.

Valdez was 1-for-3 with a run scored.

Polanco hit .298 this season with six homers and 52 RBIs.

The Phillies went 13-19 this year in games Polanco didn't start and 84-46 when he did. Valdez started just six of those games, although he started 82 other games at second and short while Chase Utley and Rollins were hurt. Valdez's last start at third was Aug. 23. The Phillies went 2-4 in his starts at third, and 52-36 in his starts overall.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Jayson Stark | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com