Pittsburgh Pirates: Injury Update on Gregory Polanco


The Pittsburgh Pirates will be entering the 2019 season without their everyday right fielder.  However, he may be coming back sooner rather than later.

Last year, the Pittsburgh Pirates saw Gregory Polanco take a big stride forward.  After a rough, slow start to the season, the coaching staff had Polanco back off the plate.  By doing so, Polanco climbed himself up into the top five outfielders in terms of OPS from June on.  It really seemed like the Bucs found out what was wrong with Polanco and started to figure out how to get him to reach his offensive potential.

Polanco really broke out over the months of June and July.  In June, the big lefty hit .306/.421/.597 with a 172 wRC+.  He followed it up with a very good July as well, batting .301/.353/.645 with a 164 wRC+ along with eight home runs in the month.  While his August was not as strong, he had a good beginning of September before tearing his labrum sliding into second base.

With labrum surgery, the expectation is for a player to be out for 8-10 months.  The Pittsburgh Pirates saw this with Cole Tucker a few years ago and he ended up on that same timeline.  So the belief was that Polanco would not return to game action until the middle of June.

Well, some started to guess that he may come back earlier than that based on him hitting and starting to throw already during spring training.  According to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the word is that Polanco should be back by May.  Brink interviewed Polanco about his rehab and came to this conclusion saying:

"“Polanco does a lot of mobility work with the shoulder before and after throwing. He can hit with no restrictions. He will miss the beginning of the season but could return by May.”"

If Polanco could be back by May, this would be a huge boost for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  While players like Lonnie Chisenhall and Melky Cabrera should do a good job of filling in, Polanco showed how much of an impact he can make with the bat.  Also, this would allow Chisenhall and Cabrera to become a true bench and fourth/fifth outfield options.  With these roles, the team will be all around better with a better starting lineup and a very deep bench.

Next. Hayes Breaking Out. dark

Of course, this is all depends on Polanco not having any setbacks during the next few weeks of rehab.  Hopefully, the Pittsburgh Pirates can get him some at-bats at some point this spring as a designated hitter.