It only took the Pittsburgh Pirates’ highly touted and anticipated prospect four games to show that the MLB is where he belongs. Gregory Polanco, 22, was just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis this June.
By June 13, the did what a lot of well-known stars can’t do too often and that is to go 5-7 with a home run (his first in the majors) in just the fourth game of his career. He is the only player in the modern era to accomplish such a feat. According to the Elias Sports Bureau the person who had currently held a record like this was the Montreal Expo’s infielder Mike Lansing in his fifth major league game in 1993. He was also three years older than Polanco in his MLB debut.
Only one rookie has gotten a five hit game faster and that, according to Elias, was Cecil Travis of the then Washington Senators in 1933. His 5-hit game may have been in his MLB debut but it did not include a homer.
Add to that the fact that Polanco’s two-run home run in the top of the 13th inning ended up winning the game for the Pirates. The Pirates defeated the Marlins on Thursday in the 13-inning marathon game by a score of 8-6.
Polanco had gotten fewer than 500 at-bats combined in Double-A and Triple-A and many were not sure he was really ready to major league. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Polanco,
“He’s off to a good start. Just gotta give him some time to let him play. It’s fun to watch. He’s been taking it in strides. He’s very grounded. He knows there are things he can continue to work on.”
Another added bonus, besides being praised by? Polanco’s mother was in attendance at the game and it was the first of his major league games she had been able to come to. Polanco told MLB.com,
“This is my best game ever. It’s the first time she’s here, watching me play in the majors. I was excited.”
To have had the best game of his promising major league career with his mother there to see it – that was special and probably more than just exciting.