Is he on the way or not? We speculated earlier that Gregory Polanco's call-up date would fall Friday, not based on sources but on scheduling and service time - the Bucs would start a big home stand after a coast trip, and Polanco would start his clock on a time that would leave him with 115 service days, a week fewer than the earliest Super Two date since it began.
Seemed safe and sane. Then Tim Williams, Ken Rosenthal, Chris Cotillo and Dan Zangrilli - two local and two national guys - broke the story last night that their sources told them that Polanco would indeed be in Pittsburgh Friday.
And no wonder - Polanco went from a Top 50 to Top 15 to Top 3 prospect in a year, and has a slash of .357/.412/.550 and good counting numbers - 6 HR, 48 RBI, 45 runs, 14-of-19 stealing and even four outfield assists. The Bucs have been prepping him in RF this year and started batting him leadoff recently, both indicators that he was on the fast track.
Then a strange thing happened - after getting that blast of all-good buzz from the rumor mill, the Pirates got on the horn to all the main stream local media guys, denying the promotion was coming on Friday. Soon, they said, but not Friday. Man, talk about bursting a bubble.
Much media finger-pointing and name-calling ensued. But the trouble here isn't shaky sources or quick-to-print journalists, unless the same source has Williams', Rosenthal's, Cotillo's and Zangrilli's ear, but the Bucco PR people. It would be like them to softshoe his promotion, which locally and nationally ranks with Pedro Alvarez's and Gerrit Cole's debuts in terms of fan interest, to focus attention on the draft - or to take attention, which they translate as pressure, away from Polanco.
So we'll see how it shakes out. Friday almost makes too much sense for Polanco's debut; maybe he'll come up for the next series against the Cubs, although with Starling Marte collecting splinters now, there's no reason to delay his arrival. But with the Pirates, well, who knows? This we do know: the team will be better both short term and long when he does hit the roster.