Day 13: Polanco a blur, as advertised

You can’t make this stuff up:

Of all the raves we’ve heard about Gregory Polanco, the ones that stand out are about his speed. About how he can fly down the baseline in no time and, with those long legs, make it look effortless.

So — in his first competitive at-bat of the spring, in today’s Gold V Black intrasquad game, he tops a ball that dribbles maybe 50 feet up the first base line. And by the time pitcher Joely Rodriguez runs over to try to glove the ball, Polanco has crossed the bag with an infield single.

* * *

Rodriguez, by the way, had batters hitting worm-killers like that throughout his one-inning stint, which included another infield hit. If the Pirates staff loves swing-and-miss stuff, they very much like ground-ball stuff, so keep a longshot eye on Joely.

* * *

You know it’s a low-key squad game when, listed as “extras,” are guys like Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Starling Marte and Russell Martin. None of them got into the game.

* * *

Maybe my eyes are playing tricks on me, since the guy obviously has always had power. But, I swear, I’ve never seen the ball fly off Alvarez’s bat as it has this spring in batting practice. He just seems quicker, and is hitting moonshots with the flick of the wrist.

* * *

Ozzie Smith is spearheading a campaign to have baseball’s Opening Day declared a national holiday.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle thinks it may be unnecessary, if the intent is to enable kids to attend games without playing hooky from school.

“I love Opening Day, and I know my kids are going to be sick that day,” Hurdle said. “They’re going to come down with a bad fever. Bucco Fever.”

* * *

Gift Ngoepe was a late entry in the Blacks’ lineup, taking over for Chase d’Arnaud, who had been designated for assignment to make room for Brent Morel, picked up on waivers from the Blue Jays.

Yes, with Chase gone, that made Ngoepe the Bucs’ going-away Gift.

Sorry.

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