8/23/2014 8:37 P.M. ET
Bucs catching prospect Diaz climbing depth chart
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- About a year ago, few people had heard about Elias Diaz. He was just another 22-year-old catcher in the Pirates' farm system.
About a month ago, all Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington heard about was Diaz -- from other team executives with whom he tried to work a non-waiver Trade Deadline swap.
Not surprisingly, Diaz is a rising star in the Bucs' galaxy who may have quickly supplanted former No. 1 Draft pick Tony Sanchez as the team's future behind the plate. Sanchez, in fact, made his debut at first base for Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday night -- on orders from the big club, days after Diaz's promotion from Double-A Altoona to Triple-A.
"We're trying to provide some versatility for Tony, but it will also give more opportunity to gain some Triple-A experience for one of our brightest young prospects," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of the moves.
Prior to the promotion, Diaz was selected to the Eastern League postseason All-Star team (along with right-hander Adrian Sampson) after batting .328 with 54 RBIs in 91 games with the Curve.
"Throughout the Trade Deadline talks, this is a guy that everyone asked about," Hurdle said of Diaz, a Venezuela native wrapping up his sixth season in the Bucs' organization. "So he's getting attention from a lot of other places as well.
"The reports on him have been really solid. The work ethic, pregame planning, blocking, throwing -- all the defense has shown up extremely well, and the bat has shown up as well. He's a guy we'll have more conversations about over the winter."
As Russell Martin prepared to enter his "walk" season, Hurdle all but anointed Sanchez his No. 1 catcher-in-waiting during Spring Training.
Sanchez spent a month early this season as the Pirates' primary catcher while Martin was on the DL with a hamstring injury.
On Saturday, Sanchez tweeted, "Catch ... first base ... clean Cutch's cleats. Don't matter. I'll do whatever it takes to be in the show."
Polanco out of lineup for fourth straight game
MILWAUKEE -- Gregory Polanco remained on the Pirates' bench Saturday night, missing his fourth straight start -- after having previously been left out of the starting lineup only twice since his June 10 arrival.
Polanco thus continued to rest with his 1-for-27 slump. And while he is spending the downtime working on his approach and swing, the emphasis really is on "rest."
Since April 2013, Polanco has played 221 games -- a grind through the Majors and Minors, as well as the Dominican Winter League.
"And for him it was a very fulfilling winter ball season, not like he was playing three games a week," manager Clint Hurdle said of Polanco's offseason as the Dominican Republic's Most Valuable Player. "I was anticipating a bit of fatigue somewhere along the line. So this is not unexpected, and this short time down will rekindle his batteries."
While cooling his heels, Polanco is also giving Travis Snider a chance to cool off. When Andrew McCutchen came off the disabled list, Snider was kept in the lineup, shifting from left to right.
Snider's 0-for-5 in Friday night's series opener here halted his 11-game hitting streak, but he was still 18-for-46 entering Saturday night's game.
"It's hard to unplug a guy who's hit in 13 of 15 games, who goes 0-for-5 and still is hitting nearly .400 for two weeks," said Hurdle, suggesting Polanco's return is imminent. "So we'll give [Snider] another run at this guy [Brewers starter Wily Peralta] and see what tomorrow brings."
First number, last word
62: Years between Pirates wins when they issue eight or more walks while registering one strikeout. Prior to Friday's win over the Brewers, it had last happened on Sept. 27, 1952, when Bucs pitchers walked nine with a strikeout in a 9-6 win in Cincinnati.
"I think the most impressive thing is that with all that shuffling, nobody's missed an at-bat or batted out of turn. So they're paying attention." -- Hurdle, on using his 102nd different lineup in the Pirates' 129th game on Saturday night
• Former Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon, now at the helm of the Mariners, was ejected from consecutive games last week by the same umpire (Tony Randazzo). The last big league manager to suffer that fate? Current Pirates manager Hurdle, who as Rockies skipper was thrown out by Mike DiMuro on April 8-9, 2003.
• A total of 18 dads are here participating in the Pirates' annual Fathers & Sons weekend.
"That's strong," Hurdle said of the turnout for an event that was his idea, and on which club chairman Bob Nutting, club president Frank Coonelly and Huntington quickly signed off.
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.