Gregory Polanco returns to Pirates’ lineup Wednesday

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Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco was held out the starting lineup both Monday and Tuesday after tweaking a muscle in his groin over the weekend, but he was able to pinch hit on Tuesday night and he is leading off for the Bucs in Wednesday night’s game against Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks.

The groin problem was obviously pretty minor.

Polanco, 23, is batting .284/.303/.419 with a homer, seven doubles, and seven stolen bases in 19 games this season for Pittsburgh. He was a consensus top-25 prospect heading into the 2014 season but posted a disappointing .650 OPS in 89 games as a rookie.

Video: Pete Alonso hits home run no. 50

Pete Alonso
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Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has launched what appears to be the beginning of an auspicious career, made all the more notable by the 50 home runs he’s produced for the Mets so far this season. The All-Star slugger pushed his home run streak to four straight games on Friday, collecting no. 50 on an eighth-inning fastball from the Reds’ Sal Romano.

It’s just the latest of a long line of accomplishments for the 24-year-old infielder. Entering Friday’s series opener against Cincinnati, the first-time All-Star carried a .266/.366/.590 batting line with a league-leading 49 homers, 113 RBI, a .956 OPS and 4.9 fWAR through 648 plate appearances. Among those who are still rounding out their rookie seasons in 2019, he ranks first in home runs and fWAR by a long shot: the White Sox’ Eloy Jiménez is second in home runs with 28 dingers, while the Astros’ Yordan Álvarez plays second fiddle in fWAR with 3.7 Wins Above Replacement.

Even more remarkable: Alonso is the second rookie in MLB history to deliver at least 50 home runs in a single season. The first? Aaron Judge, who clubbed a jaw-dropping 52 homers for the Yankees in 2017.