BRADENTON, Fla. — Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco will not make the trip to Montreal, staying behind because of a combination of his left shoulder discomfort and a passport issue that may also prevent Starling Marte from making the trip.
Polanco and Marte were with the Dominican Republic team in the World Baseball Classic while the Pirates were applying for visas for them to travel into Canada and have not received that paperwork back yet. General manager Neal Huntington said he expects to get Marte’s paperwork back on Wednesday. But the team was leaning toward holding back Polanco anyway. With his visa stats uncertain, the team decided he’s better off getting more work in at Pirate City.
“We feel that we are better off controlling his environment, and we are also having a passport problem with Polanco,” Huntington said. “In his case, we were leaning towards that, anyway. But the passport glitch has certainly made that more likely.”
Trainer Todd Tomczyk confirmed that the team is being especially cautious with Polanco’s shoulder because it is the same arm that he injured during the 2016 season, which limited him to pinch-hitting only for a stretch. Polanco returned to taking batting practice on Monday, and took his first live at-bats today, getting ten at-bats at Pirate City. After the day, he told Tim Williams that he was feeling good and got some good work in.
“No problem. I feel good,” Polanco said about his shoulder. “No injury or nothing. My shoulder is getting better.”
Polanco said that his shoulder was sore from throwing so much. He threw today from 90 feet, and said that he’s going to be throwing in a game on Friday to see how things feel. He will get a day off tomorrow. We will have a live report and an update after that game.
Other Injury Updates
**Huntington said that there is no issue for Francisco Cervelli because his Italian team returned from the WBC in time to submit the paperwork probably and that there should not be a passport issues for Marte or Polanco when the Pirates travel to Toronto in August.
**Catcher Chris Stewart, meanwhile is “optimistic” about his chances of being ready for opening day. Stewart’s left groin strain has been progressing and he’s returned to catching bullpens, receiving drills, hitting and throwing.
“I didn’t think it was too bad after the initial onset,” he said. “The only the thing to determine at this point is whether we want to push it, whether it’s worth it to push it or not. As long as everything keeps going well, I think we should be good.”
The plan is for Stewart to play in back-to-back nine-inning games sometime later this week. That will probably also mean a Florida stay for Stewart while the team goes to Montreal.
**Francisco Cervelli started and caught on Tuesday, but Jacob Stallings is in the lineup Wednesday. Cervelli has still not caught on back-to-back days since returning to the Pirates from the WBC.
“We’re going to be talking about Francisco’s foot from time to time, amongst other body parts,” Tomczyk said. “Don’t be surprised if that rears its ugly head sometime during the course of the year, but he’s in a good position to go out and compete and he’s in a really good position since coming back from the WBC to start the season overall pretty healthy.”
Tomcyzk added that the only issue with Cervelli’s foot is the wear and tear of his position.