Martin, Polanco will miss rest of season

September 5th, 2019

PITTSBURGH -- Rookie outfielder Jason Martin will miss the rest of the season after having his left shoulder dislocated following a slide home Tuesday night. The Pirates won’t see right fielder on the field again this year either, due to his lingering left shoulder injury.

The news could have been worse for Martin, who walked off the field on Tuesday night holding his left arm and departed the ballpark with his arm in a sling, only hours after being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis. After Martin hustled home to score on a wild pitch, Marlins pitcher Jarlin Garcia landed on top of him trying to make a play at the plate.

Doctors told the Pirates medical staff that Martin would have only missed a month if this happened earlier in the season because his injury does not require surgery. But with less than a month left to play, Martin will be shut down for the season. He should be ready to go for Spring Training next year, according to Pirates' director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk.

Meanwhile, the shoulder injury Polanco sustained last September continues to cause him trouble. Last week, the Pirates attempted to increase the intensity of his rehabilitation work with an eye on having him play with Pittsburgh before the end of this season. But Polanco has not shaken the inflammation in his left shoulder, and he continued to feel discomfort as he ramped up his exercises.

Polanco will not participate in any baseball activities the rest of the season. He will receive a series of platelet-rich plasma injections to ease the inflammation in his shoulder, Tomczyk said. After that, he will be reevaluated by Dr. David Altchek, who performed Polanco’s surgery last year.

The Pirates expect that Polanco will be ready for next season, but they also expected him to play more than 42 games this season. With the Bucs in need of outfielders and offense, Polanco rushed back and returned earlier than expected on April 22. He hit well for a month, then his shoulder issues caught up with him. He has not played for Pittsburgh since June 16.

“We need to make sure that joint stays moving and stays in good motion, that we don’t have this inflammatory response that he’s experiencing,” Tomczyk said. “Those things are still in process. We’re still formulating those plans.”

With Martin out and Polanco not returning, the Pirates recalled Kevin Kramer from Indianapolis before Wednesday’s game against the Marlins at PNC Park. Kramer, who was already on Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster, hit .260/.335/.417 and played six different positions in Triple-A this year. Starling Marte was out of the lineup on Wednesday for the first time since June 16, so Pittsburgh’s starting outfield consisted of Melky Cabrera, Bryan Reynolds and Jose Osuna.

Keller, Archer playing catch
A day after being struck on the right wrist by a 105.5-mph line drive, right-hander Mitch Keller played catch on flat ground at PNC Park. The swelling in Keller’s wrist quickly subsided, which is a good sign for the Bucs’ top prospect. What comes next is less certain.

Keller is tentatively scheduled, but not guaranteed, to throw his standard between-starts bullpen session on Thursday. The Pirates will evaluate Keller on Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon to see if he is able to throw off a mound. If he needs to alter his grip to pitch, the club will cancel that plan and give him additional time to recover.

Trainer’s room
• Starter Chris Archer, on the 10-day injured list due to right shoulder inflammation, is playing catch on flat ground as he rebuilds his arm strength. Archer has not pitched since he exited his Aug. 20 start after one inning.

• Shortstop Kevin Newman was out of the lineup Wednesday for the third straight game due to right hip discomfort. He went through a full pregame workout, however, and pinch-hit for catcher Jacob Stallings in the sixth inning of the Pirates' 6-5 win over the Marlins.

• Reliever Nick Burdi (neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome) has experienced “some intermittent forearm symptoms,” Tomczyk said, noting that those issues are “not too uncommon” after a surgery like the one Burdi underwent in late June. Burdi, who is on the 60-day IL, will be reevaluated by Dr. Keith Meister in Texas and Dr. Robert Thompson in St. Louis.

• Right-hander Yefry Ramirez (right calf strain) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Thursday after successfully getting through a side session on Tuesday; he is expected to return from the 10-day IL shortly after he becomes eligible on Sunday. However, right-hander Chris Stratton (right side inflammation) may not return as quickly, as he has not yet thrown off a mound.

• Pitching prospect J.T. Brubaker (right forearm/elbow) continues to throw without any issues. Tomczyk said Brubaker should be ready to pitch in Spring Training after a “normal” offseason.