The Pirates have placed outfielder Gregory Polanco on the 10-day disabled list and recalled left-hander Steve Brault. Polanco injured his left hamstring in yesterday’s game. First called “discomfort,” it’s now being referred to as a strain. The move is a major blow, as Polanco was a key factor in the Pirates’ July surge. He was batting 387/406/629 in July and 269/322/424 overall. Not only does the injury interrupt a hot streak for Polanco, it raises the possibility that he won’t play effectively for a while after he returns, which has been a pattern as he’s struggled with innumerable nagging injuries over the past two seasons. On the other hand, the Pirates seem to be learning from their experiences with Polanco. In the past, they’ve tried to nurse him along without a DL trip, with disastrous results. This time at least they’ve taken quick action.
The exact reason for Brault’s callup is unclear. The team doesn’t have a rotation opening and everybody in the bullpen is pitching well, or at least not giving up runs somehow or other. The bullpen also isn’t overtaxed right now and there’s an off-day on Thursday. They are in Coors, but only for two more games and the next opponents, San Francisco and San Diego, are the two lowest-scoring teams in the NL. Brault certainly has earned a promotion. He leads the International League in ERA at 2.06, and has a 1.13 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, and 8.5 K/9.