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Polanco's delayed debut has a game-changing feel

 

 

It was only a 1-for-5 night that included a misplay in right in what became a 7-3 loss to the Cubs.

But Gregory Polanco is nonetheless off and running.

“You got to see that swing,” manager Clint Hurdle noted after Polanco’s much-anticipated debut.

Not much more needed to be seen, for starters, although Polanco clearly has much more to offer.

What resonated perhaps even more than that sweet swing was the way Polanco comported himself with his new Pirates teammates and in his new Major League environment.

Polanco looked as if he belonged, as if he’d been doing this for a while, as if there isn’t anything else he’s better suited to do.

“He didn’t look jittery,” Josh Harrison observed. “He blended right in.”

Now that he has, it’s not just about how good Polanco can be but how good the Pirates’ outfield of Starling Marte, Andrew McCutcheon and Polanco will become.

Based on the way the starting pitching is beginning to crumble that’s probably going to have to happen much sooner rather than eventually for the Pirates to accomplish anything significant this season.

One game into Polanco’s Major League career that once again seems achievable if not inevitable, the season is once again rich with possibility if not expectation.

So the Pirates, despite all of their self-imposed financial restraints, at least have that going for them again.

Better late than never.

The shot of Marte, McCutchen and Polanco standing together in the outfield with their backs to the television camera announced a story that’s about to unfold, one ripe with compelling potential.

It’s hard not to ponder how that might turn out the rest of this season, although Hurdle maintained he’d do his best to resist such urges.

“I’m not going to get in front of anything,” he said. “I just want to see him play.”

 

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