Gregory Polanco was placed on the 10-day disabled list, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Wednesday. The injury now leaves the team without two of its three Opening Day starting outfielders.
“It typically takes two to four weeks to return to play in order to give it time to heal and rest,” Dr. Selene Parekh, an orthopedic surgeon, said. “Otherwise, this can become an issue throughout the entire season. Expect therapy, rest medications and performance training to help get him over this.”
Polanco had gotten off to a slow start in 2017, batting just .252 with one home run and nine RBI. Though he was not producing at the same level he had in 2016, Polanco’s injury comes just weeks after Starling Marte was suspended for a positive PED test, thinning the team’s outfield depth even further. Polanco should remain on rosters in 12-14 team leagues if possible. His plus speed goes far, particularly when he heats up.
In a corresponding move, the team recalled outfielder Danny Ortiz from Triple-A. However, John Jaso has started the past few games in right field for the Pirates. He is batting a novice .162 with two home runs and five RBI. However, what fantasy owners should doing is picking up Adam Frazier.
The 25-year-old has been the Pirates regular leadoff hitter since returning from an injury last week. It was clear Pittsburgh had high hopes for him, but Polanco’s injury almost definitively secures his playing time in the outfield. He is batting .323 with one home runs and six RBI in 65 at-bats this season. He should be picked up in all fantasy leagues as long as he is batting above .300 and leading off for the Pirates.
Jose Osuna should also see some more action in right field, particularly if Jaso continues to underperform. The rookie is batting .226 with two home runs and nine RBI in 62 at-bats this season. He hit .279 with 13 home runs and 69 RBI in Triple-A last season.
More stress is also put on a struggling Andrew McCutchen. The former National League MVP is batting just .206 with six home runs and 17 RBI in his first 141 at-bats in 2017. Not to mention his on-base percentage is sitting at .280. His on-base percentage in last season was .336, and that was .065 points lower than the previous four seasons in which he boasted an on-base percentage above .400. Pittsburgh will look for him to step up with his two fellow Opening Day outfielders on the shelf.