Polanco getting extended look at shortstop
Rookie has impressed with bat, glove since late July callup
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Paul Molitor has been impressed by rookie Jorge Polanco and said he will continue to get looks at shortstop going forward with the way he's been swinging the bat.
Polanco, who didn't play any shortstop at Triple-A Rochester this season before getting recalled by the Twins on July 29, made his third straight start at the position on Tuesday against the Astros. Polanco entered the game hitting .378 with three doubles, two triples and a stolen base in nine games since getting the callup for the fourth time this year.
"We're going to try to continue to use the games we have remaining to try to learn as much as we can while trying to compete and trying to win," Molitor said. "Jorge has been playing well. He's had an upper-end week as far as his at-bats and how he's been playing."
Polanco mostly saw time at second base at Triple-A with two appearances at third base. But in the Majors this season, he's started at shortstop (four times), third base (six) and second base (five). Polanco, though, has made 339 Minor League appearances at short, so Molitor said it's not like it's a new position for him.
"It's impressive somewhat, but you have to remember how many games he's played at shortstop," Molitor said. "He takes ground balls there every day. It's different here in terms of the speed, as far as where balls are hit and who is running the bases. Those types of things. That's one of those things we're trying to gauge and see where he's at. See how he slows the game down on the defensive side."
Molitor said the questions about Polanco's ability to stick at shortstop revolve around his range and arm strength. But Molitor said Polanco's arm has gotten stronger since he saw him play at Class A Cedar Rapids in 2013, and that it's now up to Polanco to prove he can handle the position.
"His arm is better now than it was a couple years ago," Molitor said. "Last night, we saw some of those throws he made, and while they weren't particularly long, they needed strength and he was able to finish the plays. So I look forward to when a ball is hit in his direction to see how he's going to react."