Huntington Hoping to 'Get Polanco Right'

Pirates RF Struggles at Plate Continue

Josh Rowntree
May 27, 2018 - 5:10 pm
Pirates OF Gregory Polanco During Game on

USA Today

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During his meeting with the media before Sunday’s Pirates-Cardinals game, Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington addressed the ongoing poor play of right fielder Gregory Polanco. 

Following Sunday’s 6-4 loss to St. Louis at PNC Park, Polanco now has three hits in his last 36 at bats, with no RBIs, sending his batting average to a dismal .205.

"It’s really ten days,” Huntington said. "It feels a lot longer than that. But actually he was swinging the bat well in the first part of May. It’s been a tough stretch here.”

Coupled with Polanco’s struggles has been the emergence of Austin Meadows, who is batting .455 after a pair of hits Sunday.  

"Austin Meadows isn’t here as a fourth outfielder,” Huntington said. "He’s here as part of a four outfielder group that allows us to keep these other guys strong or, ideally, get Gregory Polanco right."

Huntington believes that part of Polanco’s pains at the plate is his inability to control his 6’4” frame.

"With what we’re seeing with Tyler Glasnow, he’s able to simplify some things and he’s able to sink those long limbs more consistently,” Huntington added. "Gregory goes through ebbs and flows where he’s able to sink them and he’s a lot of fun to watch play. And then, there are times, where he’s not able to sink them and he gets himself out.”

Polanco will turn 27 in September. He has over 2,100 at-bats in his career. So there is cause for concern that evolution may never come. 

"At some point in time, the player is what the player is,” Hungtington said. “But, there’s a lot of guys around our game that have made some late 20s pushes to become much better players or to reach what they were supposed to be in their early 20s.”

"We’ve had success with guys having bouncebacks and with some guys taking the next steps in their careers. Our challenge is always when do you recognize that it may not happen and you don’t want to watch it happen somewhere else.”

On multiple occasions, Huntington mentioned that Polanco is putting in good work behind the scenes, but that the organization needs it to translate to the field. 

"There’s still productivity here,” he added. "The narrative is that he’s been terrible. The reality is that he’s been just about a league average offense player. There’s more here. The consistency is how do we get more out on a more consistent basis."

 

Hear Hungtinton's entire meeting with the media below.