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Pirates

Pirates' Gregory Polanco could be out until June after shoulder surgery

Jerry DiPaola
| Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, 3:18 p.m.
Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco makes a running catch on a ball hit by the Braves’ Kurt Suzuki during the third inning Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco makes a running catch on a ball hit by the Braves’ Kurt Suzuki during the third inning Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, at PNC Park.

Gregory Polanco, who leads the Pirates in home runs this year, could be out until as late as June next season while recovering from shoulder surgery.

Players typically return in approximately seven to nine months after this type of surgery, Pirates officials said.

Polanco, who turned 27 on Friday, had surgery Wednesday to repair the labrum and regain stabilization of his left (throwing) shoulder after suffering an acute dislocation while sliding into second base Sept. 7.

The procedure was performed by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Polanco also bruised his knee while sliding.

It’s also possible Polanco, who has played 130 games this season as the team’s regular right fielder, can return in April. Opening Day is March 28 in Cincinnati.

But the Pirates’ offseason plans will be affected by Polanco’s absence. In the past four games before Friday, the Pirates have used second baseman Adam Frazier in right field twice, and minor leaguers Jordan Luplow and Pablo Reyes once each.

Frazier, however, may have been targeted as the replacement for second baseman Josh Harrison, who is owed $10.5 million next season.

Polanco leads the Pirates with 23 home runs and 81 RBIs. He is one of only five Pirates players to reach double digits in homers. Starling Marte is second with 19 in the same number of games, followed by Francisco Cervelli and Corey Dickerson (11 each) and Josh Bell (10).

Even while missing the past week, Polanco has 15 more RBIs than Marte, the player with the second-most.

Polanco is hitting only .254, but he leads the Pirates in slugging percentage (.499), on-base percentage, plus slugging (.839) and strikeouts (117).

In other injury news, Chad Kuhl, who hasn’t pitched since June 26 after straining his right forearm, was unable to throw his scheduled side session this week and will re-examined by Altchek next week.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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