The Pittsburgh Pirates delivered some unsettling news concerning their young right-fielder today.
Pittsburgh Pirates RF Gregory Polanco had successful shoulder surgery on September 12th, and now the club has announced the length of his rehab. It is not good news.
Polanco Update: Gregory underwent left shoulder surgery on September 12 to repair the labrum and regain stabilization of the shoulder after the acute dislocation.— Pirates (@Pirates) September 14, 2018
Typically, players return to Major League competition in approximately 7-9 months following this type of surgery. https://t.co/hFxAjJFYRf
This is nothing less than a crushing blow to the club’s plans for 2019. Polanco is coming off of his best season as a pro, posting a 2.5 fWAR on the back of a 123 wRC+. He led the Pittsburgh Pirates in wOBA on fly balls, showing that he was finally becoming the power threat that many felt he could grow in to.
The Pirates are not completely unprepared for such a blow to their outfield. Corey Dickerson will presumably be brought back at a slight raise in arbitration. The club could seemingly platoon Adam Frazier and Jordan Luplow in right field. Both have major league experience, of course, but both are a considerable dropoff from Polanco.
The Pirates are in a bad spot otherwise, as they may balk at going out and finding an outfielder with Polanco expected to be able to re-join the club in mid-summer. The club has some decisions to make, it seems.
For now, this news can be considered one final gut-punch in what has ultimately been a roller-coaster type of season.