The 22-year-old outfielder returned on Tuesday ... to watch Andrew Lambo play right field. For most of this season, Lambo had been a forgotten soul in Indianapolis, eclipsed by Polanco's shadow.
"I like the at-bats Lambo is giving us now," said manager Clint Hurdle, who kept intact the lineup facing St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright in Tuesday night's game. "We'll see if [either Lambo or Polanco] can catch some hot traction and go."
If and when Lambo falters, clearly Polanco will get his stretch chance. There is no question about his place in the Pirates' future, of course.
"I came back stronger, ready to play," Polanco said of his Triple-A timeout. "I know I just have to do my share, not try to do too much. I will keep playing hard, no matter what."
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.