Gregory Polanco Out for the Season

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Gregory Polanco
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 05: Gregory Polanco #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates heads to the dugout before the game against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on September 5, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Pirates have shut down right fielder Gregory Polanco for the remainder of the season with knee and shoulder ailments, the club’s official Twitter account confirmed Saturday afternoon.

Gregory Polanco Out for the Season with Knee, Shoulder Ailments After Awkward Slide

Polanco’s injury occurred in the sixth inning of Friday night’s 5-3 Pirates win over the Miami Marlins on an awkward slide into second base after he doubled off of Marlins reliever Jarlin Garcia. Polanco was lifted with shoulder and knee discomfort and was originally tabbed as day-to-day. It was later revealed that a deep bone bruise on his left knee will require six-to-eight weeks of recovery, while the extent of his shoulder injury has yet to be determined.

With the Pirates well out of the NL Central and Wild Card races, it made for an easy call for the team’s front office brass to shut Polanco down for the season’s final three weeks and allow him to get the necessary rest. The Pirates will also be able to give increased playing time to some of their younger outfielders, who will aim to get a head start on vying for big league jobs next spring. Polanco’s at-bats will likely be divvied up between Adam Frazier, Jose Osuna, Pablo Reyes, and Jordan Luplow, who came into Friday’s game to pinch run for Polanco after the injury and would go on to break the 3-3 tie with a two-run blast in the eighth that put the Buccos ahead for good.

Polanco was in the midst of a very solid individual campaign for the Pirates, entering play Saturday as the club’s home run and RBI leader. To this point in 2018, ‘El Coffee’ slashed .254/.340/.499 to go along with 23 home runs, 81 RBI, and 12 stolen bases. Although his season was cut short in the final month, the 26-year-old Polanco made several very positive strides in his development and rebounded from a nightmarish 2017 personal campaign. His 23 long balls, 11.4% walk rate, and .245 isolated power clip were all career highs, while his 81 runs driven in were just five behind the 86 he plated in 53 more at-bats in 2016. Polanco also set a new career-best single season WAR at 2.5, topping the 2.3 WAR marks he set in both 2015 and 2016.

All indications are that Polanco will be back to full health following the six-to-eight week recovery time frame, and should be a full go when Spring Training rolls around next February.

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