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Podsednik hopeful rest is answer to foot woes

Podsednik hopeful rest is answer to foot woes

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Podsednik hopeful rest is answer to foot woes
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Veteran outfielder Scott Podsednik was scratched from the Blue Jays' lineup on Saturday afternoon because of a recurring left foot injury.

Podsednik missed the first 12 games of the Grapefruit League season because of plantar fasciitis. He played Friday against the Yankees and was expected to start Saturday against Pittsburgh, but he was eventually forced to sit out.

"It's just a little more tender than I expected it today," Podsednik said. "We're going to give it a day, try to do what we can to calm it down, come back tomorrow and see where we are."

Plantar fasciitis can be described as inflammation in a thick band of connective tissue that runs from the heel of the foot towards the toes. It can be difficult to treat, extremely painful, and quite regularly lasts for long periods of time. Oftentimes rest is the best remedy.

Rest also happens to be something that Podsednik doesn't feel like he can afford a lot of right now. The 34-year-old is in a fierce competition with veterans Corey Patterson and Mike McCoy for the final two spots on the Blue Jays' bench.

Podsednik is walking a fine line between getting the time off he needs while also receiving enough playing time to prove to the organization that he is worthy of a roster spot. His uncertain role with the team is likely forcing Podsednik to push things a little bit more than he would if there was a guaranteed job on the table.

"Probably so," said Podsednik, who hit .297 with six home runs and 35 stolen bases in 2010. "I think if I was penciled in as a starter as of right now, we might try to be a bit more cautious with it.

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"But I'm not in that situation. I need to go out and play. I'm going to try to do all I can to get this thing ready and get back out on the field."

Podsednik entered Spring Training without any guarantees from the Blue Jays other than he would have an opportunity to compete for a job in the Major Leagues. The native of Texas signed a Minor League deal and will make $1 million if he makes the big league team. If he doesn't, the club can cut ties without any type of financial ramifications.

Another possibility is that Podsednik could stay behind for extended Spring Training or eventually accept an assignment to the Minor Leagues as he attempts to work his way back to proper health. That was something Podsednik didn't want to think about when he first arrived in Dunedin, Fla., but the longer camp goes on without any type of major improvement the greater the chances are of that scenario becoming a reality.

"I might have to," Podsednik said of extended Spring Training. "I guess it just depends on how much playing time I'm able to get here in spring and however much information the club is going to need to make that decision. Right now, that's a little premature to try to answer at this point, but, yeah, it could possibly be something that might need to happen."

The latest development comes as disappointing news for Podsednik, who appeared as though he took a step forward in his rehab on Friday. He made his Grapefruit League debut against the Yankees and earned two walks while also stealing second base.

After the game, Podsednik said he did experience pain but felt it was tolerable and something he would be able to play through. In the morning, his foot felt stiff, but once the game started he was able to loosen it up a little bit to the point where his movement wasn't overly affected.

That was what he was hoping to accomplish again on Saturday. During manager John Farrell's pregame scrum with the media it appeared as though that would still be the case, but as the morning progressed, Podsednik still felt discomfort and decided to sit out.

"I was thinking that it might [feel better] once I got out and started moving around and pumped some blood into it, it might loosen up a little bit, which it did," Podsednik said. "It felt a lot better later in the morning than it did when I got up this morning, but still, instead of going out and trying to push things, we felt it might be better to back it off another day."

If there's one small consolation it's that Podsednik has a history with the injury and knows how his foot will respond better than anyone else. It's the same ailment that cost him the final 25 days of the regular season in 2010 while he was with the Dodgers.

His condition improved with rest during the offseason, but the injury returned shortly after signing the Minor League contract with Toronto. He arrived in camp wearing a walking boot and has yet to return to full health.

While Podsednik is trying to prove his worth to the Blue Jays organization, he says he can't do it at the detriment of his long-term health.

"I still feel like I can go out and play at the Major League level, so I really don't want to do anything crazy right now that's going to jeopardize my career down the road," Podsednik said.

"I have a little bit of a history, and I think it's just better for everybody that we don't push it at this point. It's still relatively early in spring, so I feel like, at this point, it's the right thing to do."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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