06/12/12 8:51 PM ET
Utley begins rehab assignment
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
"That's definitely good news," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "Super."
Position players have 20 days to rehab before they must be called up to the Majors, if they are healthy. If Utley has no setbacks, it means he would be back with the Phillies no later than July 2.
Utley was the Threshers' designated hitter on Tuesday. He could begin playing second base before the end of the week.
Polanco could be back Wednesday
MINNEAPOLIS -- Placido Polanco could be back in the Phillies lineup on Wednesday.
His return will be welcomed. The Phillies have suffered defensively at third base since he tore some cartilage in his left wrist on a play last Tuesday. Ty Wigginton has committed four errors at third in Polanco's absence, which had Phillies manager Charlie Manuel adjusting his defense for Tuesday's series opener against the Twins at Target Field.
Manuel had Mike Fontenot at third base, Michael Martinez at second base and Wigginton at first base.
"I put them there because I was looking for a good lineup," Manuel said. "I felt like we want people who are going to catch the ball. At the same time, errors are a part of the game. We've been blessed for about the last five or six years where our defense has always been real good. People have always taken it for granted."
Polanco visited hand specialist Randall Culp on Monday in Philadelphia. He rejoined the team in time to take early batting practice on Tuesday.
"He tested it, I told him I felt fine," Polanco said of Culp.
He said he hopes to start on Wednesday. Manuel said Polanco was available to play Tuesday, if needed.
Phillies break out "fake tough" t-shirts
MINNEAPOLIS -- Have fun. The Phillies have tried to beat that mantra into their brains during their recent struggles. But they showed they still know how to laugh a little bit on Tuesday when several teammates sported red t-shirts with the Liberty Bell and "Fake Tough" printed on the front.
"Fake tough" should sound familiar to Phillies fans because Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo called Cole Hamels "fake tough" after Hamels said he intentionally hit Bryce Harper with a pitch last month in Washington. Hunter Pence apparently purchased the shirts and Hamels donned one, although he had no plans to talk about it on Tuesday.
"I'm not commenting on that," Hamels said with a smile. "I'm just wearing it because I'm trying to be a good teammate. That's it."
Thome happy to be back in Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jim Thome met with Minnesota reporters before the game at Target Field. Thome played with the Twins from 2010-11 before joining Cleveland late last season and Philadelphia this season.
Here are some highlights from his interview:
On if he misses getting regular at-bats playing in the National League: "I like to play. I'll be honest. I think that's always in you. I think it's fun. It's fun to go out and play, yes. I think the main thing is, right now, obviously we have about four or five more days here of Interleague. Focus in on that. As we talked before we left, get into a routine or a rhythm pinch-hitting, and try to do the best you can at that."
On what happens after Interleague: "I think as we go through this week, as this ends, I think that's something we'll sit down and talk about. I definitely want to sit down with Charlie [Manuel] at some point and really kind of go over that and see what the next phase of that is."
On his future: "I have to be honest, I do like to compete. I really do. I like to compete. I like to dig in that box. I like to work. I like to come to the ballpark. That I think is a tough part. I know I'm getting toward the end, but I can still go out and do it. That's what drives me to come back every year. It'll be interesting going forward here."
Second baseman Freddy Galvis, who might have a pars fracture in his back, is in New York for a second opinion. Results are expected later this week.
This is the first time the Phillies have been to Target Field. Manager Charlie Manuel's first impressions? "I like hitting in Citizens Bank Park better," he said, referring to Target Field's pitcher-friendly reputation. "It's nice, though. This is real nice. I walked around yesterday. I like where it sits. I like downtown. Real good."
Former Phillies pinch-hitter Matt Stairs had his home in Maine burglarized over the weekend. He told CBC News many prized baseball possessions were stolen, but not his 2008 World Series championship ring. He had that with him while he was out of town.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.