Victorino's late scratch was a 'manager's decision,' but he doesn't look long for Philly

Shane Victorino's surprise late benching Sunday was said not to have anything to do with a potential trade and instead been the result of a "manager's decision."

In any case, Victorino appears to be a short-timer in Philly. If he isn't traded before the July 31 trade deadline, he will almost assuredly sign elsewhere.

Victorino originally was batting seventh in manager Charlie Manuel's lineup Sunday, but was scratched late, giving rise to trade speculation. Victorino is a free agent after the season, and with the Phillies threatening to fall out of the race entirely, his name is coming up in trade talks.

The Dodgers are one of a few teams to have some interest.

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro threw a bit of cold water on trade speculation when he noted in an interview this week with that he didn't have an obvious internal replacement for Victorino. However, others familiar with the Phillies' thinking have suggested that while they intend to try to make a strong effort to re-sign star pitcher Cole Hamels, their efforts to retain Victorino are expected to be lukewarm, at best.

Phillies people sometimes even lump Victorino in with Joe Blanton and Placido Polanco as players they don't expect to keep in conversations about how much money they have coming off the books. Victorino, a Gold Glover and longtime Phillies leader, is hitting a disappointing .245, and Phillies people have expressed some disappointment in his performance and even some concern about on-field decision-making.

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