Prized rookie Polanco called up; Walker to DL



It took an appendectomy, but Gregory Polanco is on his way to the majors.

The Pirates plan to call up Polanco, a Class AAA Indianapolis right fielder and the organization's top prospect, before the game tonight against the Chicago Cubs.

Polanco tweeted about the promotion after the Pirates' 6-2 win Monday, and the team announced the move shortly thereafter. Polanco will take the place of Neil Walker, who went on the 15-day disabled list after he had an appendectomy.

Gregory Polanco excited 'like a child' to join Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco talks to the media during a press conference at PNC Park this afternoon. (Video by Peter Diana; 6/10/2014)

Polanco, a 22-year-old left-handed hitter from the Dominican Republic, hit .347 with a .405 on-base percentage for Indianapolis this season. He hit seven home runs and stole 15 bases, and twice was named the International League player of the week.

The addition of Polanco will give the Pirates a strong trio of outfielders whom the team has under contract for a long time. He will join 2013 National League Most Valuable Player Andrew McCutchen, who is under contract until at least 2017, and Starling Marte, who signed an extension this spring that will keep him in Pittsburgh until at least 2019.

Polanco, the most valuable player of the Dominican Winter League this season, turned down a multiyear contract offer from the Pirates in spring training, before he had ever appeared on a major league roster. The contract would have removed from consideration the beginning of Polanco's service time clock. By keeping him in the minors to start the season, the Pirates preserved another year of control over Polanco and made it less likely that he will become eligible for a fourth year of arbitration as a Super Two player.

Walker was having his most complete season since 2010, hitting .280 with 11 home runs and a .353 on-base percentage. He had started every game but one before Monday, when the Pirates scratched him from the lineup because of what at the time was called abdominal pain. At the same time, Polanco was not in the Indianapolis lineup.

Josh Harrison likely will move to second base from right field to fill in for Walker, with Polanco taking over in right. The Pirates recently moved Polanco to the leadoff spot in Indianapolis, which is where Harrison has been hitting.

Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com and Twitter @BrinkPG.


First Published June 9, 2014 11:11 PM

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