Polanco knee soreness comes at tough time for Pirates' red-hot hitter
Gregory Polanco had to exit Wednesday's game with discomfort in his left knee, a tough break for the outfielder who has been one of the Pirates' top offensive threats all month.
His abbreviated outing ended a streak of reaching base in 18 consecutive games, his bases-clearing double in the eight inning on Tuesday night sparking Pittsburgh's comeback to beat the Minnesota Twins.
Polanco, who has been finding more of a home at lead-off spot, had seen his average dip to .231 on July 6. He's back up to .241. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Polanco will be examined Thursday as Pittsburgh opens a four-game series at Cincinnati.
Polanco and the Pirates, coming off a three-game sweep of the Twins at Minnesota, had hit a nice groove since the acquisition of third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who has slide into the cleanup spot. Hurdle moved Neil Walker down to the six-hole, while Polanco and Starling Marte man the top of the order.
Walker told CBS Radio in Pittsburgh that Ramirez's addition has unquestionably strengthened the Pirates' lineup.
“It lengthens the lineup out a little bit,” Walker said. “There are [now no areas in the lineup] for the pitcher to lay off the gas, and that speaks volumes to situations like [Francisco] Cervelli hitting as well as he is and us hitting all the way down the lineup.”
Now the red-hot Pirates hope their equally hot hitter in Polanco returns to the lineup promptly.