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Polanco's '17 return TBD; 'Cisco' due back soon

MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates are "still optimistic" that injured right fielder Gregory Polanco will play again this season, head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk said Wednesday.

Polanco -- aka "El Coffee" for Players Weekend -- is on the 10-day disabled list for the third time this year due to a strained left hamstring. He missed eight games in May and nine more in late July before aggravating the injury again Aug. 12 in Toronto. The Pirates went 2-7 during Polanco's late-July absence and entered Wednesday with a 2-7 record since his most recent injury.

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PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates are "still optimistic" that injured right fielder Gregory Polanco will play again this season, head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk said Wednesday.

Polanco -- aka "El Coffee" for Players Weekend -- is on the 10-day disabled list for the third time this year due to a strained left hamstring. He missed eight games in May and nine more in late July before aggravating the injury again Aug. 12 in Toronto. The Pirates went 2-7 during Polanco's late-July absence and entered Wednesday with a 2-7 record since his most recent injury.

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Polanco was eligible to return Wednesday, but he is still in the early stages of his rehabilitation. Polanco took batting practice on the field early Wednesday afternoon, and he has been throwing. He is still limited to indoor conditioning work, including running on an underwater treadmill.

With 35 regular-season games remaining after Wednesday, Pittsburgh hopes to get Polanco back on the field before the end of the year.

Francisco Cervelli (left wrist inflammation) -- aka "Cisco" for Players Weekend -- should return soon. Cervelli took batting practice on the field Wednesday, and he has been catching bullpen sessions and hitting high-velocity pitches off a machine. He is eligible to come off the disabled list Thursday. Cervelli on Thursday will discuss his next step with the training staff and manager Clint Hurdle.

•  Pirates' Players Weekend gear

Reliever George Kontos (right groin strain) will resume throwing Friday in Cincinnati. The veteran right-hander expects to return some time around Aug. 30, when his mandatory 10-day stint on the DL ends. Right-hander Joaquin Benoit's left knee inflammation is a recurrence of a previous injury that sidelined him in June, Tomczyk said. Benoit will rest until Friday before being reassessed in Cincinnati.

Left-hander Wade LeBlanc, out with a left quad strain, was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Wednesday. He is eligible to return Monday.

Top prospect Austin Meadows was out of the Triple-A Indianapolis for five days due to oblique tightness, Tomczyk said. Meadows pinch-ran and played left field Tuesday night and returned to Indianapolis' lineup Wednesday night. Meadows strained his oblique last September and missed more than a month earlier this year due to a strained hamstring.

"They were cautious to make sure this didn't turn into something more than it needed to," Tomczyk said.

Around the horn

• Closer Felipe Rivero, who was not available to pitch Monday, was back in play had he been needed Tuesday night, Hurdle said.

Andrew McCutchen on Tuesday recorded his 1,431st career hit, tying him with Bill Virdon for 15th place on the Pirates' all-time list. Dick Groat is 14th all-time, with 1,435, and Dave Parker is 13th with 1,479. McCutchen leads the National League in hits since making his Major League debut in 2009.

• The Pirates promoted right-hander Brandon Cumpton to Triple-A Indianapolis. Cumpton and Casey Sadler both pitched for the Pirates in 2014 before undergoing Tommy John surgery after the 2015 season. The former starters moved to the bullpen this season, working their way up to Triple-A.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Francisco Cervelli, Gregory Polanco