Gregory Polanco seemingly played two totally different seasons in 2016. In 78 games through July 4, he batted .297/.374/.521 with 12 home runs, 50 RBI and nine steals in 330 plate appearances. Though he hit 10 homers with 36 RBI and eight steals in his final 257 plate appearances, he also wilted with a .220 clip and .682 OPS. His power output says there wasn't much of an issue, but injuries to his knee, shoulder, hamstring and face, via a collision with a wall, contributed to his uneven performance, and he has now suffered noteworthy swoons in each of his first three campaigns. At 25, he is still young enough to take another step forward, and his sizable increase in hard contact shows that he's squaring up pitches better. Unfortunately, his tall frame seems susceptible to injury. While the outfielder set career highs in home runs and RBI, his ceiling is even higher across the board -- but only if he can stay healthy and soften his dips in production.
Polanco went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI during Sunday's win over the Yankees. The outfielder entered the game with an 0-for-14 stretch at the dish, and the slump-busting showing only improved his slash line to a disappointing .236/.311/.309. Polanco owns all the physical tools to be a go-to fantasy asset, but he's been plagued by injuries and inconsistency to this point in his career. Being locked into the cleanup spot will help his RBI opportunities, and this could prove to be a buy-low spot for Polanco. There's no questioning his talent and upside.
Polanco went 0-for-5 against the Yankees on Saturday and is hitless in his last 14 at-bats. The 25-year-old is still looking to get over the hump as a consistent producer. He's missing his good friend Starling Marte and the switch from right field to left continues to give him problems -- he miscommunicated with center fielder Andrew McCutchen on fairly easy flyball Saturday. Polanco hasn't stolen a base in five games since returning from a groin injury although he's reached base only three times in that span. On the positive side, manager Clint Hurdle has committed to batting him cleanup regardless of the opposing pitcher.
Polanco (groin) is in the lineup for Tuesday's game against the Cardinals. After being held out of the starting lineup for three consecutive games, Polanco is set to return. He'll start in left field and hit fourth in Tuesday's outing. After playing in 10 games this season, Polanco owns a .297 batting average and .728 OPS.
Polanco (groin) belted a pinch-hit, RBI double Monday against the Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. The appearance was Polanco's first since Friday, when he tweaked his groin running the bases. "I tried to stop at second, but when I saw the ball was (still) behind me, I went to third," Polanco said. "When I got to third base, that's when I felt it. I didn't want to push it. It's better to miss a couple of days than half of the season." Polanco is batting .435 in his last 23 at-bats and is hitting lefties (.286) better than righties (.273). Look for him to return to the starting lineup Tuesday.
Polanco (groin) is available to come off the bench Monday against the Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Stephen Nesbitt reports. It appears as though Polanco, who will be out of the lineup for the third straight game, could resume his normal duties in left field as soon as Tuesday. Polanco said he tweaked his groin while running from first base to third Friday. He was in the on-deck circle Sunday, but didn't bat after Adam Frazier belted a three-run homer.
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