The rumors had been circling. It even had been reported, late last week, that Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Gregory Polanco had been called up. But, on Monday night, it finally happened.
"The wait is over.... My dream has officially come true Pittsburgh, see you mañana!!" Polanco tweeted from his account, @El_Coffee.
At that point, all "sources" and any other reports were done. He's coming, and Pirates fans are ecstatic.
He followed it up a few minutes later with a few more tweets, including "Pirates fans, thanks for being patient with me, you guys are awesome!!!"
The 22-year-old Dominican native will immediately be inserted in the Pirates lineup and be expected to make a difference, filling the roster spot of Neil Walker, who was sent to the disabled list.
Polanco hit .273 with a homer in 22 spring training at-bats and was hitting .347 with seven homers, 49 RBIs and 15 stolen bases with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians.
"Our goal is to bring him here when we feel it's the right time," Pirates general manager Neil Huntington had said. "In an ideal world, we'd like to get him some more plate appearances down there. What he's doing has allowed us to shorten that time frame a little bit."
Polanco is expected to bat second against the Cubs on Tuesday night.
Polanco's track to the majors had been blocked by Josh Harrison, who had been playing right field and playing it well. But, with Walker on the DL after an appendectomy, Harrison is expected to move to second base while Polanco will take over at right field.
Over three levels in 2013, Polanco hit .285 with 38 stolen bases and 12 homers as he catapulted from Advanced-A Bradenton to Double-A Altoona to Indianapolis.
Harrison has been batting leadoff for the Pirates and is expected to continue doing exactly that.
"It's hard to take that sparkplug out of the lineup," Huntington said of Harrison to MLB.com. "That'd be a great thing, to be able to drop Gregory to a less demanding role.
"If Josh continues to play the way he has and the offense continues to roll the way it has in the last five to six weeks, Gregory can come in and be a guy. He doesn't have to be the guy."
The reason people are so excited about Polanco, however, is because he brings a lot of the same attributes to the table as fellow Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen in that he's considered a five-tool player who can hit for power and average with speed who can play the field and also has an excellent arm from right field.
He's 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds and those he has played for gush over him.
"Who does he remind me of? Barry Bonds," says Double A Altoona manager Carlos Garcia, who managed Polanco last summer, to SI.com. "He has that kind of power. But he does it all -- he hits for power, he hits gap to gap, he can lay down a bunt, he runs well, defensively he can cover so much ground in centerfield and rightfield."
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