MIAMI – Gregory Polanco was scratched from Wednesday night’s game with left foot discomfort, after fouling a ball off his foot in his final at-bat on Tuesday night. Polanco checked out fine after the game, but started feeling it a little bit Tuesday night, and woke up with more discomfort on Wednesday.
The Pirates played it safe and gave him a night off, sending him to the doctors to get an x-ray. Everything checked out fine, and there was no swelling today. Polanco is still out of the lineup tonight, but said before the game that he’s available if needed.
“It’s a lot better today,” Polanco said.
In other injury news, Ryan Vogelsong underwent surgery today in Pittsburgh to repair multiple facial fractures. The surgery was performed by Dr. Randall Beatty at Allegheny General Hospital. Vogelsong is resting at home, and will be re-examined by team doctors next week to determine a rehab schedule.
Here is the lineup for tonight’s game against the Marlins.
One big difference here is that Jordy Mercer has been moved down in the lineup with a left-hander on the mound. Josh Harrison takes his place batting leadoff. Clint Hurdle said he made the move because Mercer had been struggling recently against lefties. The shortstop has a career .843 OPS against lefties, but has dropped down to .696 this year. Harrison, meanwhile, has a .911 OPS this year against lefties.
“I like the ability to drive in runs. The fact he can also bring energy to different spots,” Hurdle said of Harrison. “Right now, he’s hitting leadoff based on merit. Based on the volume of work, the at-bats against left-handed pitchers. The ability to get on and move… I expect Jordy to get back and play against some left-handed pitching. His numbers are down from where they’ve been in the past. There are a couple of other guys who are [down], but Josh’s are not. Josh’s are in a really solid place. They’ve gotten my attention. I think he’s been flexible about where he goes. We’re looking for him to give some energy up top tonight.”
With Polanco out, the Pirates also have Matt Joyce in at right field. Last night they had a choice between John Jaso and Joyce starting. Jaso got the start, but Joyce came in as a pinch hitter, and was immediately match up against a lefty. He delivered with a game tying single, and that hit also got him a start tonight.
“I like getting bench players in, periodically. You can’t match them up perfectly all the time,” Hurdle said. “After a big hit though, as well. He gave us the shot in the arm off a lefty last night. Run him back out there tonight and see what he can do with it.”
Expect to See Melancon Tonight
Mark Melancon hasn’t pitched in six days, with the Pirates not needing to use him yet on this road trip. However, they would have found a way to give him some time off at the start of the trip, no matter what, due to his usage early in the season.
“The only reason this is six is because he was red lined for me, and he needed to back off,” Hurdle said. “Actually, we were planning on not using him in Texas, after throwing him the last day at home, to give him two or three days off. I don’t think it’s a major concern. I think we’ll look for an opportunity to get him engaged tonight.”
Melancon has been doing a few things on the side, like going through his delivery and doing some light throwing in the bullpen. But the past six days have given him a chance to rest. Expect him to pitch tonight, just to get him back in the mix.