UPDATE, 7:21 p.m. ET: A “high-ranking” Pirates official told beat writer Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that there are currently no plans to call up Polanco on Friday. This just took an odd turn.
As first reported on Wednesday afternoon by Tim Williams of PiratesProspects.com and then later confirmed by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Pirates will call up top outfield prospect Gregory Polanco before their series-opener Friday night at home against the NL Central-leading Brewers.
Polanco, rated a Top 10 prospect this winter by Baseball America, has hit .351/.410/.547 with six home runs, 47 RBI, and 14 stolen bases in 57 games this season at Triple-A Indianapolis. He should provide an immediate boost to a Pirates offense that currently ranks 22nd in the majors in runs scored.
Pittsburgh opens play Wednesday evening with a 28-30 record and -22 run differential.
The only reason Polanco isn’t already in the bigs was threat that he might achieve Super Two status. His callup Friday means that he will finish the 2014 season with 115 days of service time. The projected cutoff for Super Two status — according to Williams’ report at PiratesProspects.com — is two years and 128 days.
MORE FROM HBT: Top prospect Gregory Polanco rejects seven-year contract from Pirates
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.