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The Pittsburgh Pirates [url=http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/eddie-yarbrough-jersey]Eddie Yarbrough Jersey[/url] , trying to regain a foothold in the National League Central, have settled into a four-man outfield rotation that may not be altogether comfortable.
It’s hard to say from game to game which three will start. The three who began the season — left fielder Corey Dickerson, center fielder Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco in right — started Monday in a 1-0 win over Milwaukee, but it’s possible one of them will be replaced in the second game of the series Tuesday at PNC Park with rookie Austin Meadows, who has been strong offensively and defensively since being recalled last month and has played in all three outfield spots.
A lot of the sentiment surrounding the Pirates seems to lean toward Polanco sitting more often than not. He is batting .214 and has had some lapses defensively and on the bases. But the Pirates are steadfast in playing him.
“I’ve had his back through all of this, because I believe he’s a good ballplayer and I believed the swing was going to come back out,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “We’ll see. Time will tell. We can sit here and talk all day about what might happen. He’s going to get the opportunity to go out and hit. It’s going to happen or it’s not going to happen. I believe it’s going to happen.”
Polanco has been better the past two games, going 3 for 4 with a homer, two RBIs and a walk, although he stranded two runners Monday.
“It’s just a battle,” he said. “You’ve got to fight every day. You’ve got to fight. You’ve got to work. No matter how I’m doing I’m going to keep working because I worked so hard in the offseason to get my body ready. Now in the season I don’t want to stop working. I don’t care I am doing; going to keep working every day.”
A turnaround by Polanco concurrent with a Pittsburgh resurgence would certainly help. The Pirates (36-36) vied for the division lead early in the season before a month-long swoon. Monday’s win moved them back to within six games of the first-place Brewers (42-30), who have lost three straight.
Milwaukee will recall right-hander Freddy Peralta (1-0, 3.72 ERA) from Triple-A Colorado Springs and give him his third career start Tuesday [url=http://www.greenbaypackersteamonline.com/j_mon-moore-jersey]J'Mon Moore Jersey[/url] , against Pittsburgh righty Jameson Taillon (4-5, 3.94 ERA).
In his earlier recall, Peralta, 22, made his major league debut on Mother’s Day, going 5 2/3 scoreless innings against Colorado, giving up one hit and setting a Brewers record for a debut with 13 strikeouts.
In his other start, he got a no-decision.
“It’s still exciting,” Peralta told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about his second recall. “I’ve been working hard, trying to get back here. You are fighting all the time to be where you want to be — here.”
Among his three most recent starts for Colorado Springs, Peralta took a no-hitter into the seventh and struck out 11 in six innings.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell was clear that Peralta is not penciled in for anything beyond Tuesday’s start, but allowed, “He has been on a really good roll. Every line score has looked really good. The evaluations have been really good. So he has earned it.”
Milwaukee third baseman Travis Shaw’s status is unclear. He did not play Monday because of a sore wrist he got Sunday.
Taillon [url=http://www.indianapoliscoltsteamonline.com/tarell-basham-jersey]Tarell Basham Jersey[/url] , who is 1-3 with a 3.47 ERA in seven career starts against Milwaukee, has gone 2-5 with a 5.02 ERA over his past 11 starts. He last pitched on Wednesday when he allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings of a 5-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy wouldn't declare Justin McCray the winner of the training camp competition at right guard, but he got pretty close.
What was supposed to be one of the bigger competitions of training camp never materialized.
While McCray's would-be challenger, Lucas Patrick, has spent a big chunk of camp at left guard as starter Lane Taylor has dealt with ankle and quad issues, McCray has taken every first-team rep.
"I hope so," McCarthy said Tuesday when asked if McCray was the starter. "You want to keep the competition open but, yeah, I think he's done a heck of a job at this point."
McCray wasn't taking anything for granted.
"I'm not trying to call it out right now," McCray said. "I think it's still a competition. I still need to keep working hard, still need to keep getting better every day, but I realize I'm not getting taken out (of the lineup) a lot. I definitely have realized that."
At this time last year, McCray was making an unlikely run toward a roster spot. An undrafted free agent out of Central Florida in 2014 [url=http://www.indianapoliscoltsteamonline.com/quincy-wilson-jersey]http://www.indianapoliscoltsteamonline.com/quincy-wilson-jersey[/url] , McCray spent his rookie season on Tennessee's practice squad. He failed to make the Titans' roster in 2015 and spent the year out of football.
In 2017, he worked out at Central Florida's pro day, where he caught the eye of the Packers, who signed him to a one-year contract. In between, he played for the Arena Football League's Orlando Predators and worked as a hotel bellman.
McCray spent training camp last year playing guard and center. He played a utility role last year with injuries up and down Green Bay's line, starting five games at right tackle, two at left guard and one at right guard.
The starting job at right guard came open after the Packers didn't retain Jahri Evans in free agency.
"You've got to love the guy," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "He's very detailed. He's a tough guy. He just finds a way to be productive. It may not be textbook all the time. It may not always be a clinic tape and the prettiest thing you've ever seen but, often times, he's blocking his guy."
McCray said winning the starting job won't change his mentality.
"I think I came in with the same mindset as last year," he said. "I'm trying to make a team, trying to earn a spot, and just working hard to get better. I know if I keep getting better every day [url=http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/byron-jones-jersey]http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/byron-jones-jersey[/url] , those are my best chances of doing that."
Notes: McCarthy confirmed that QB Aaron Rodgers will start on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. How much he'll play will depend in part on the availability of left tackle David Bakhtiari, who has returned from an ankle injury that held him out for more than a week. "At the forefront of your decision is being smart with Aaron, but the combination of who he plays with, too, is part of that," McCarthy said. ... McCarthy said he also hopes to play QBs Brett Hundley, DeShone Kizer and Tim Boyle. ... Starting outside linebacker Nick Perry remains on the physically unable to perform list following offseason ankle surgery, but has been working extensively with a trainer during practices. "I feel great," he said. "No setbacks is the main thing. Right now, we're being smart about it."
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