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Hamstring forces Polanco to DL; Brault recalled

MLB.com

DENVER -- Less than a week after the Pirates' starting outfield trio was back together following Starling Marte's reinstatement, Gregory Polanco has landed on the 10-day disabled list due to a left hamstring strain.

 

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DENVER -- Less than a week after the Pirates' starting outfield trio was back together following Starling Marte's reinstatement, Gregory Polanco has landed on the 10-day disabled list due to a left hamstring strain.

 

View Full Game Coverage

Polanco exited Friday's 13-5 win over the Rockies in the fourth inning after beating out a potential double-play ball. After reaching first, he grabbed the back of his leg, then left the game.

"It's a young, strong man who has been nicked up quite a number of times," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "[We're] best served sitting him down, getting him healthy again, then re-plugging him back into the lineup, because he's been playing his best baseball the last two weeks."

This is Polanco's second left hamstring injury this season; the young outfielder missed 10 games in May with a similar strain.

Replacing Polanco will be left-handed pitcher Steven Brault, who will work out of the bullpen and give the Pirates eight relievers. Brault, who was scratched from his start Saturday for Triple-A Indianapolis, was 8-4 with a 2.06 ERA in 18 Triple-A games (17 starts).

With Polanco's injury happening late at night and two time zones behind, Brault said he found out while sleeping.

"It was 1:30 a.m. [Indianapolis manager] Andy Barkett called my phone like six times and I didn't answer, so he called the hotel phone," Brault said. "That finally woke me up, so it was a happy rude awakening. It was a good phone call to get."

Brault made his last start for Indianapolis on Monday, giving up two runs in six innings on 95 pitches. He was in the Majors a few times briefly in 2016, tallying a 4.86 ERA in 33 1/3 innings.

Though Brault's promotion leaves the Pirates with a short bench, Hurdle said he had been "hunting playing time" for all his players, and the move will alleviate that issue. Hurdle added that the Pirates have three guys who can fill in for Polanco in Adam Frazier, Jose Osuna and John Jaso.

Brault gives the Pirates a balance of four lefties and four righties in the bullpen, and his ability to throw multiple innings can take the load off young starters whose innings are building up, Hurdle said. Although Brault has spent most of his time in the Minors as a starter, he said he's eager to get a different perspective.

"That's a bit new for me, but I'm learning," Brault said of his move to the bullpen. "And it's gonna be fun to do something new and hit the ground running. It's gonna be a good time."

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Pirates on Saturday.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Gregory Polanco