Stud outfield prospect Gregory Polanco is making his MLB debut tonight and the Pirates have him starting in right field and batting second in the lineup.
Polanco hit .347 with a .405 on-base percentage and .540 slugging percentage in 62 games at Triple-A to earn the call-up and that type of player would obviously fit anywhere in the batting order, but at this point in his development the 22-year-old has more speed than power so the second spot makes sense for now.
Ultimately he projects as a prototypical No. 3 hitter if things go well for Polanco, but of course the Pirates have one of the best No. 3 hitters in baseball already in reigning MVP Andrew McCutchen. It’s a very nice problem to have and Polanco batting directly in front of McCutchen should be fun for Pirates fans to watch however long it lasts.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.