Nuance is a funny thing. According to Pirates Prospects (sub. req’d), Pirates’ head trainer Todd Tomczyk characterizes the possibility of Gregory Polanco returning this year from his latest left hamstring strain as “questionable.” The Post-Gazette says the Pirates are “optimistic” he’ll return.
Pirates are "optimistic" Gregory Polanco will play again this season, per head athletic trainer. He is hitting, throwing, running in H2O.— Stephen J. Nesbitt (@stephenjnesbitt) August 23, 2017
I suspect this is two ways of saying the same thing: Polanco might return but it’s not guaranteed.
What pretty much is guaranteed is a lost season for a guy who was supposed to be a major part of the Pirates’ core. Polanco has played in just 91 games and posted an indifferent slash line of 255/311/407. Even if he does come back for a couple weeks, those numbers are unlikely to improve, because his history is that he struggles badly for a while after returning from one of his countless minor injuries. It’d probably be better if he just scrapped the rest of the season and tried to get healthy for next year. The Pirates could let Jordan Luplow play the position the rest of the way, if Clint Hurdle could be restrained from putting soon-to-be ex-Pirate John Jaso in the lineup every other day.
As for other players, Francisco Cervelli also isn’t close in any immediate sense, but the main question seems to be whether he should do a minor league rehab. With George Kontos, the Pirates are hoping for a return once he’s eligible on August 30.