Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco likely done for season
DENVER — Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco has been out of action on the 10-day injured list since mid-June.
His inactivity has stemmed from inflammation in his left shoulder, on which he had reparative surgery last September following a hard slide into second base.
At the time of his injury, Polanco had already set a career-high in home runs with 23 and walks with 61, while he was on pace to do the same in RBI, doubles and runs.
Today, the Pirates announced Polanco’s transfer to the 60-day IL.
“I think it wipes him out for the season,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “So now, the focus will be what’s next and next year (and) maybe (an) understanding too, that what his conception of being ready at one time has changed a little bit.”
Polanco, who had hit .242 with six home runs and 17 RBI in 42 games this season, found himself originally on the IL to start the season while he continued to let his shoulder heal.
His return to the Pirates on April 22 was on the sooner side of his expected 7-9 months of recovery.
Polanco was placed back on the IL in mid-June with inflammation in his surgically repaired shoulder.
“The things he wanted to accomplish to show that he was getting healthy and stronger — he knocked them all down,” Hurdle said. “If you go back to when he came back to play, he played extremely well for a period of time. So who’s to say (when he came back) was sooner than he should have?”
“But once he got involved in the grind, the continuation of play and the reps, that accumulation probably could have cost him some different types of challenges.”
While Polanco was eligible to return to the Pirates in mid-August, the team’s decision to move him to the 60-day IL suggests he will be shut down for the rest of the season. The Pirates used the roster spot to acquire left-handed pitcher LHP Wei-Chung Wang, claimed off waivers from Oakland on Saturday.
Wang, 27, is expected to join the Pirates on Tuesday. He had 20 relief appearances with Oakland this year, posting a 1-0 record and 3.33 ERA in 17 innings. He held left-handed batters to a .186 average (8 for 43).
Wang, who was originally signed as a free agent by the Pirates in October 2011 and later was a 2013 Rule 5 Draft selection by Milwaukee, made his MLB debut with the Brewers in 2014.
Hurdle said Polanco is “still working through some things.”
”He’s tried to put every effort and energy to getting back, and I don’t think that it’s worked out as quickly as he’d like,” Hurdle said.
For Polanco, if he searches for a silver lining within his injury ordeal, he may not be disappointed.
“There’s probably some freedom of mind that he’s not on a time-sensitive calendar to get back if he doesn’t feel ready,” Hurdle said…he’s going to have all winter to work through it, get strong and conditioned for next spring with his focus on being the best player he can be at that time.”