7/8/2014 12:56 A.M. ET
After tough Sunday, Polanco rests vs. Cards
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- Gregory Polanco was not in the lineup on Monday night, given a day of rest, according to manager Clint Hurdle.
But considering that the rookie outfielder had most of the day off last Tuesday (until a pinch-hitting appearance in the ninth) after having played in his first 19 games, there could be more to the absence.
Hurdle may have wanted to play one of the players freshly chosen for the National League All-Star team by Cards skipper Mike Matheny -- thus having Josh Harrison start in right -- but most likely, Hurdle wanted to spare Polanco the humbling education of facing Adam Wainwright.
After Polanco went 0-for-4 on Sunday facing A.J. Burnett's off-speed wizardry, with his first career three-strikeout game, it was a good time for him to just sit and watch a "master craftsman," as Hurdle characterized Wainwright.
"He's along the lines of David Price, with a different skill set," said Hurdle, citing the Tampa Bay lefty, who mastered the Bucs on June 25. "From the other dugout, you see a guy who's very confident on the mound."
Tight lat lands Cole on the disabled list
ST. LOUIS -- Following a disappointing pregame bullpen session, the Pirates on Monday placed Gerrit Cole on the disabled list with the tight lat that had forced his exit from Friday's start.
Brandon Cumpton, on the same pitching schedule as Cole, will be recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis and take Cole's turn on Wednesday against the Cardinals.
The move vexed Cole, who had just come off the DL on June 28 after missing three weeks with a fatigued shoulder.
"This is something completely different, so I guess it's encouraging that I didn't re-injure the same thing," Cole said. "But yeah, it's ridiculous. Coming off the DL and having to go back on is ... It wasn't a good day. But [the staff] convinced me it's the smart, right thing to do."
Cole pitched five sharp one-hit innings on Friday against the Phillies before making an abrupt departure with a sore latissimus dorsi, the widest muscle in the back.
Cole played some catch the following day at PNC Park, and that went well enough for him to be given the green light for Monday's routine side session, which became anything but routine.
"It responded decent the last couple of days, but getting on the mound and putting extra force into it ... It didn't feel good," he said. "I threw about 25, 26 pitches. Chris Stewart was catching me, and I asked him, 'Do I look like myself?' And he said, 'No. It just didn't look the same.'"
With the four-day All-Star break commencing next Monday, Cole could miss only one start both prior to and following the hiatus.
"We'll use the opportunity of the upcoming break to pass on this start," manager Clint Hurdle said, "and put him on a program to return to pitch. He wants to pitch, to compete. He's such an aggressive kid. The risk, I don't think, is worth the reward for this particular start."
Cumpton went 3-0 for the Bucs in five June starts, with an ERA of 2.97. With the Indians he is 4-1 in seven starts, with a 1.76 ERA.
First number, last word
1938: Year that the Pirates last won six consecutive road series, and that included a one-game stop in Boston, as the Elias Sports Bureau points out. The Bucs rode a streak of five straight road series wins into their current visit to St. Louis.
"I don't know if you can read anything into that. There were long stretches I didn't break my bat, and I was never an elite hitter." -- Hurdle, on what Polanco never breaking his bat says about him as a hitter
• The Bucs dealt International League All-Star outfielder Chris Dickerson to the Indians on Monday (for a player to be named or cash), the day after general manager Neal Huntington made this observation about the 32-year-old Major League vet, who had an OPS of .889 at Indianapolis: "He's a guy who, under normal circumstances, probably would be in the big leagues with us. But we've got three pretty good outfielders here, and that's blocked Chris' way, but he's a guy who's probably deserving of a Major League opportunity."
• Speaking of deserving, Matheny on adding Harrison to his All-Star squad: "He's had a great year. When you're trying to put together a roster, you're trying to figure out how we can be covered as many places as possible and have someone with a lot of versatility, plus someone who has had the kind of season that is worthy of this acknowledgement. He stood out."
• Left-hander Francisco Liriano (strained left oblique) aced his first rehab start with Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday night. Liriano retired the final 15 Lehigh Valley batters he faced and wound up hurling six shutout innings, allowing three hits and no walks while fanning eight. He threw 76 pitches, 53 of them strikes.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.