Polanco & Diaz to Miss Start of Pirates Season

Both continue to make progress

Jeff Hathhorn
March 14, 2019 - 12:09 pm
Elias Diaz throwing

93.7 the Fan

BRADENTON, FL (93.7 the Fan) – While rehab is going well for outfielder Gregory Polanco, it doesn’t appear he, nor catcher Elias Diaz, will be on the Pirates Opening Day roster.

It’s not a surprise for Polanco, but given the advancements in some of his rehab and the fact he started hitting in minor-league games, there was outside hope for a quicker recovery.

“As hard as he’s worked, I’d like to say he’s ahead of schedule with all of his rehabs,” said Pirates Director of Sports Medicine Todd Tomczyk.  “At the end of the day, he is still going to fall in that 7-9 month time frame that we all discussed at the time of surgery.”

Which would mean a return anytime from mid-April to mid-June as Polanco will continue to get at bats as a designated hitter in Triple A games and potentially he could do the same in a Major League Spring game.

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Tomczyk said Polanco continues with position specific outfield work and his arm has responded well with the longer distances.  The Pirates believe he is in the best shape of his life, in part because much of his rehab was done at Pirates City in Bradenton with the team’s medical staff.

Diaz went through his first stretching and light baseball activities at LECOM Park on Thursday as he tries to ramp up a return from the undisclosed virus he suffered from, but the clock is working against him with Opening Day two weeks away.

“My perspective, and it’s something I haven’t discussed with Clint and Neal, I think we are really running up against the calendar,” Tomczyk said.  “To be where he was last Spring (in terms of playing shape), probably not.  Not far behind, but there are going to be some challenges there.”

Battling to be the fifth starter, Jordan Lyles left after two innings on Tuesday due to right side cramping on maybe the hottest day of Grapefruit League action so far.  Lyles will continue to throw and Tomczyk does not expect it to be a long-term injury.

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