CINCINNATI (AP) — The Philadelphia Phillies have lost half of their starting infield to injury.
The Phillies put second baseman Chase Utley and third baseman Placido Polanco on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday and sent them back to Philadelphia for exams to see how long they will be sidelined. Utley has a sprained right thumb. Polanco has a sore left elbow.
Suddenly, the defending NL champions could be in the market for some help.
"The main thing is we need to find out the length of Chase and Poly's stay on the DL," assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. "At this point, we're not sure."
Philadelphia is finishing June with seven players on the disabled list, including two key infielders. If Utley and Polanco are out for more than two weeks, the Phillies would be looking to trade.
"I think we're always looking to get better," Proefrock said. "Now our focus may be a little different than it was."
Utley hurt his thumb while sliding into second base during the fourth inning of a 7-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night, when he was tagged out while trying to stretch a single. He stayed in the game until the ninth, when he left for a pinch hitter because the thumb was sore.
An MRI on Tuesday wasn't clear about the severity of the sprain. Utley headed back to Philadelphia to see a hand specialist and get more tests on Wednesday.
Utley, who is batting .277 with 11 homers and 37 RBIs, met briefly with manager Charlie Manuel before heading home. It's only the second time that the four-time All-Star has been on the disabled list. He broke his right wrist and missed a month in 2007.
"He wasn't in a talkative mood," Manuel said. "Neither was I."
Polanco has a bone spur in the left elbow. It was hit by a pitch in April and has bothered him since despite two injections to help the healing. He aggravated it while diving last Friday and hadn't played. He went back to Philadelphia to get more tests on Wednesday.
"The question is why is it so persistent?" trainer Scott Sheridan said. "You'd expect if you treat it with anti-inflammatories and the types of things we've done with it that it should respond, and it has not. So I think it's time to put him on the DL, rest him and try to get some better answers for why this thing is staying the way it is."
The Phillies signed Polanco as a free agent after he won his second Gold Glove as a second baseman with Detroit. They moved him to third to replace Pedro Feliz. The move has worked well: Polanco is third in the NL with a .318 average and leads all NL third basemen in fielding percentage.
The Phillies replaced them short-term by calling up infielder Brian Bocock and utility player Greg Dobbs from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Bocock batted .179 with one homer. Dobbs was designated for assignment, then outrighted to Lehigh on June 23. He played in four games there, going 2 for 17. Manuel said Dobbs will play some games at third base.
"When you lose Utley and Poly, that's a big part of our lineup," Manuel said. "At the same time, that's when you give somebody else a chance."
Polanco and Utley were leading their respective positions in NL All-Star voting announced Tuesday. Polanco's lead over New York's David Wright was down to about 23,000 votes. He was ahead by 130,000 votes last week.