In the Dominican on Tuesday night, Gregory Polanco returned to action for the first time in over two weeks. He last played on December 30th, before he left for the United States to attend Pirates mini-camp and MLB’s Rookie Career Development Program. Polanco went 0-for-5 in his team’s 6-0 victory. He scored once and drove in a run. Polanco was the designated hitter during his first day back. His team used four pitchers to throw a no-hitter and in the process, they clinched a spot in the Dominican League finals.
In yesterday’s Winter League article, I gave a summary of the Starling Marte soap opera going on in the Dominican and ended it by saying I’d have another update today. I was just joking when I said that, but it turns out there was some big news to come out on Tuesday. Apparently, Marte has been out with a groin injury and may not be available for the Dominican League finals. There was also word again that the Pirates shut him down. If you didn’t read yesterday’s summary, go back and check it out, it’s worth it. Check back tomorrow for another update…
From Puerto Rico on Tuesday, Benji Gonzalez went 0-for-3 in his team’s 1-0 victory. He has been moved to ninth in the batting order due to his struggles in the playoffs at the plate. One highlight of his night was that he helped turn three double plays. Gonzalez played flawless defense during the regular season, but he has made three errors in the playoffs.
Mel Rojas Jr. has been on the bench since his team’s second playoff game. He went 0-for-8 in the first two games and since then has only been used once as a pinch-runner before Tuesday. He was again used as a pinch-hitter, coming in during the bottom of the eighth inning last night and this time he finished the game on defense in right field.
From Panama on Monday, Ulises Montilla went 1-for-3 with a double, walk and run scored. Montilla has played five games, going 5-for-17 with a 1.017 OPS. He has played second base in every game so far. Montilla has moved around four times during his four year career, seeing regular time in left field, center field, third base and second base, which was his only position this past season in the Gulf Coast League.+ posts
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.