After a grueling 1-for-30 stretch, Gregory Polanco found himself re-joining the Indianapolis lineup and hitting second Tuesday night. However, Polanco does not view this as entirely a demotion, but also as an opportunity.
“I could be up there, not playing and being on the bench,” Polanco said. “You are not going to get better like that. When you are playing every day, that’s how you get better. They made that decision to send me here to play every day and I have to keep working hard.”
The toughest aspect for Polanco, similar to most rookies, was the adjustment that the league made against him. After beginning his Major League career with at least one hit in his first 11 games, his average dropped to a season low of .241 before being sent to Indianapolis.
“At first, they did not know me as well as they do now,” Polanco said. “They are pitching me better and I just have to adjust to the pitching up there. That is a problem with people who are coming up. They get to know you, pitch you better and you have to keep fighting.”
Polanco’s struggles came at a time when it is hard to keep Travis Snider, who is hitting over .300 since the All-Star break, out of the lineup as the third outfielder.
Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor knows of the struggles that young, inexperienced hitters face and thinks that dealing with some adversity could make Polanco even stronger.
“We can’t forget that there is going to be a stretch when young players struggle,” Treanor said. “Unfortunately for him, it’s right now. This might sound strange to say, but he can come out of this even better because he has to understand that big league pitchers are going to make adjustments to him. His thing is that he has to be able to recognize that and make adjustments back.”
Treanor said that the goal in the short stint is to relax while getting back in stride. However, he said that it will also come with work, as he will be working “early every day” to get his comfort and confidence back.
Despite some mutual frustration, Treanor said that he liked Polanco’s attitude in meeting with him on Tuesday and knows that he is ready to work to get back to Pittsburgh.
“It’s tough to see him here,” Treanor said. “No matter what he says, it’s not easy for him.”
The plan is for Polanco to rejoin the Pirates September 2, after the Indianapolis season ends.