Pirates calling up top prospect Gregory Polanco on Tuesday

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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.

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.