The Pirates have shut down Gregory Polanco’s rehab assignment due to continued shoulder discomfort, director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk told reporters Wednesday (Twitter links via Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).
It doesn’t sound as if the club is concerned about any potential structural damage in Polanco’s surgically repaired shoulder, as Tomczyk called the joint both “strong” and “stable” in making today’s announcement. “We just need to figure out the details of what’s causing the soreness and the discomfort in the back of the shoulder,” he added.
Polanco, 27, has been sidelined since late June due to inflammation in a left shoulder that required season-ending surgery in 2018. He beat the initially projected recovery timeline associated with that procedure by more than a month when he was reinstated from the injured list on April 22, but Polanco hasn’t been himself even when healthy in 2019. Through his first 167 trips to the plate, he’s batted just .242/.301/.425 — a significant departure from last year’s .254/.340/.499 output.
Potential complications in Polanco’s recovery are of particular note given the team’s wealth of outfielders. It’s been reported that Pittsburgh preferred to trade Corey Dickerson due to a surplus that existed with Dickerson, Polanco, Starling Marte, rookie Bryan Reynolds and resurgent veteran Melky Cabrera. Whether the club would be so willing to move Dickerson now that there are renewed questions about Polanco’s health will likely depend on the extent to which the ongoing shoulder troubles are expected to hinder Polanco. For the time being, there’s no timeline available on Polanco’s return to the lineup. He’s headed back to Pittsburgh, where he’ll presumably undergo further testing.