It took an injury to Neil Walker for it to happen, but Pirates top prospect Gregory Polanco is on finally on his way to the majors.
The Pirates announced this evening that Walker has been placed on the 15-day disabled list following an appendectomy. In turn, Polanco will be called up from Triple-A Indianapolis prior to Tuesday’s game against the Cubs.
Polanco was rumored to be called up last Friday, but those reports proved unfounded. However, Pirates fans got the news they have been waiting for just a few moments ago:
Polanco was ranked as the No. 10 prospect in the game by Baseball America in February and has dominated at the Triple-A level this year, putting up a .347/.405/.540 with seven home runs, 49 RBI, and 15 stolen bases over 62 games. The 22-year-old outfielder should have been promoted to the majors a while ago if we were going strictly on merit, but the Pirates held him down in the minors for service time considerations. Now that they have waited through early June, he has a better chance of avoiding Super Two status.
Josh Harrison has been playing right field as of late for the Pirates, but he’ll likely fill in for Walker at second base now that Polanco is in the big leagues.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.
Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias hasn’t appeared in a Grapefruit League game since March 14 and now we know why. He injured his right elbow and both hips falling in the shower three weeks ago, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. He has had anti-inflammatory shots applied in both areas and he’ll be be shut down from pitching for a few more days.
Iglesias might not be ready for Opening Day, according to manager Bryan Price. Iglesias, however, thinks otherwise. He said, “I’m going to be OK. I’m probably going to throw one bullpen, and after that, mentally and physically, I’ll be ready to join the season and compete.”
Price said throughout the offseason that he intended to pick his closer according to the matchups rather than naming one official closer. As a result, this injury likely doesn’t change much except that Michael Lorenzen, Drew Storen, and Tony Cingrani may get a few more early season save chances if Iglesias doesn’t start the season on time.
Iglesias, 27, finished last season with a 2.53 ERA and an 83/26 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings across five starts and 32 relief appearances.