DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Don't tell Gregory Polanco it's only Spring Training."Always it's a good time to hit homers," he said, smiling. "Thank God I feel good."Polanco crushed his second home run of the spring on Sunday, a towering shot to right field off Blue Jays right-hander Joe Biagini in the
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Don't tell Gregory Polanco it's only Spring Training.
"Always it's a good time to hit homers," he said, smiling. "Thank God I feel good."
Polanco crushed his second home run of the spring on Sunday, a towering shot to right field off Blue Jays right-hander Joe Biagini in the Pirates' 5-0 win at Dunedin Stadium. Pittsburgh's right fielder is now 6-for-19 this spring, but he's not concerned about his numbers. How he feels? That's what matters.
• Kramer standing out after tapping into power
"Last spring I didn't feel like that at all. The whole spring, I never felt like that," Polanco said. "Every day is getting better and better. That's what it's all about."
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Polanco, 26, came into camp lean and athletic, saying his hips and hands felt better than ever, and now he hopes that work will help him stay on the field after injuries marred his last season and a half.
"We've seen it since he showed up to camp," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's just not as restricted. He looks really good."
As Sunday's homer showed, Polanco has not sacrificed any raw power. He said his swing feels the same now as it did heading into the 2016 season, when he hit .287/.361/.506 through the end of July.
"It's an easy swing and the ball goes. That's what I want to feel," he said. "I want to feel like I don't have to do too much to put the ball in the gap or hit it out. … I'm going to keep working because I'm on a mission, and I want to play the whole season."
Clay Holmes, the Bucs' No. 19 prospect, allowed one hit and struck out two over three innings. Six of his outs came on the ground, a sign the 6-foot-5 righty was on top of his game.
"I've been steadily getting better throughout the spring. I think things finally came together," he said. "When I'm at my best, that's what I'm able to do and do it a lot. That's what happened today. A lot of positives to take from today."
Likely ticketed for the Triple-A rotation to start the season, Holmes will provide valuable starting depth for the Pirates -- the kind of luxury that might allow them to move Steven Brault and/or Tyler Glasnow to the big league bullpen. Holmes, a 2011 Draft pick, put together a 3.36 ERA in a full season for Indianapolis last year.
"There's a point where all the work you've put in, it's time to let it play out on the field and see what happens," he said. "I feel like that's where I'm at."
Around the horn
• Adam Frazier went 2-for-4 with an opposite-field homer, giving him 10 hits in his last 15 at-bats. The addition of Corey Dickerson bumped Frazier out of a starting role, but the super-utility man will still play regularly. He may even find his way into the Opening Day lineup, as Pittsburgh can use a designated hitter in Detroit.
"He could be a DH, seriously," Hurdle said, not specifically speaking about Opening Day. "That's a flat-out good hitter going up there four times a game."
• Catcher Elias Diaz caught Toronto's Kevin Pillar stealing second base to end the fourth inning. According to Statcast™, Diaz's arm strength ranked eighth among Major League catchers who made at least 10 throws last season. Diaz's "pop time" of 1.93 seconds was tied with Gary Sanchez for third-best in the Majors behind Austin Hedges and J.T. Realmuto.
• Starter Joe Musgrove left Pirates camp on Sunday to join his former Astros teammates for the reigning World Series champions' visit to the White House. Upon his return, Musgrove is scheduled to make his first Grapefruit League start against the Yankees on Thursday.
The Pirates will play six of their next eight games at home, starting Monday against the Orioles at LECOM Park. Bullpen candidates Kyle Crick, Kevin Siegrist, Jordan Milbrath, Edgar Santana and Josh Smoker all are expected to pitch for the Bucs.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet and air on KDKA-FM and the Pirates Radio Network. The game can also be seen on MLB.TV.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.