Friday, March 14, 2014

Hurdle: Polanco will be back

The Pirates' top prospect, outfielder Gregory Polanco, was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis prior to the Pirates' 6-5 win over the Phillies on Friday at McKechnie Field.
Manager Clint Hurdle said Polanco will be in Pittsburgh soon. But when Polanco arrives, the mission is to keep him there, adding the process has worked with players such as Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker.
All three were cut from camp at the start of their careers, but never returned to the minors once reaching the big leagues.
"We want him to go down and deal with the next challenge. Every time he steps in the box, there's going to be a pitcher trying to get something done because they think that's a springboard to the big leagues," Hurdle said. "What an opportunity for him to go and really add some quality to his at-bats."
Polanco hit .273 with one home run and two RBIs in 10 games this spring and is a career .277 hitter in 410 professional at-bats. He was named the Pirates' Minor League Player of the Year in 2012 and ended last season in Triple-A.
"He's had a very positive and steady progression. Things done in spring training still need to be kept in context," Hurdle said. "These are always the toughest times to critique and analyze...I'm not downplaying anything he's done. But again, this is why we're pushing him out there to Triple-A: To try to get  a bulked-up volume number of at-bats.
"We got him, we're happy to have him, he's going to be a great player."

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