The Pittsburgh Pirates seems to be getting a little better over the last few games. They could be getting an even bigger boost sooner rather than later.
Coming into the season the biggest question mark surrounding the Pittsburgh Pirates was their offensive potential. The team knew they had a few impact bats coming back in Corey Dickerson and Starling Marte. However, positions like first base and third base were considered big questions marks, while shortstop seemed to be the weakest position on the field.
Unfortunately, the team also had to enter the season missing two key pieces that had somewhat broken out last year. Gregory Polanco, the team’s presumable cleanup hitter, was scheduled to be out until almost June with late-season shoulder surgery. Meanwhile, Elias Diaz, who hit .256 with 11 home runs last year, missed most of the spring with some sort of illness.
Well, the good news is that both are already playing in rehab games. This means that both could be joining the team sooner than later, of course barring any setbacks. Both are currently playing at High-A Bradenton. This makes sense as both stayed back in Bradenton after Spring Training to continue to get work in.
Polanco made his first official rehab appearance last night for the Marauders. The Pittsburgh Pirates typical right fielder was able to get four at-bats. He did not record a hit, going 0-2, but he was able to draw two base on balls. Polanco did not strike out in either of his at-bats which was good to see.
Elias Diaz has had a chance to play in two games, although he did not play last night. So far in his two games of work, he has had five total at-bats, hitting two doubles while also drawing two walks. He also has two runs batted in as well as scoring one run. The one concerning thing is that Diaz has given up five stolen bases in the two games.
Both Gregory Polanco and Elias Diaz could be back realistically by the end of April. This could not only get the Pittsburgh Pirates outfield closer to what it should be, but also bring some more power back to the lineup. With Diaz, the team can go back to the catcher 1A and 1B setup they had last year with Diaz and Cervelli. Both these players could bring some more thump to the lineup, especially the middle of the order.