A towering presence in the outfield and powerful force at the plate, Gregory Polanco is making the most of his 2015 season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 23-year-old keeps his game sharp by staying hungry and gobbling up every bit of wisdom his teammates have to offer. “Everything I learn helps me become better,” he says. “I appreciate everything.”
Interview by Rachel Jones
As the youngest player on the team, how have your teammates helped you this season?
Gregory Polanco: Everybody has helped me a lot. I receive a lot of good advice from everyone — from Clint Hurdle, the coaching staff, the trainers, and my teammates. They help me every day to make me a better player.
How has your friendship with Starling Marte helped you become a better player?
GP: We are very good friends. Having that friendship makes me more confident on the field. We have fun in the outfield. I can communicate with him since we are familiar with each other. We live about 10 minutes away from each other in the Dominican Republic, so we see each other a lot. We worked out together during the off-season. We pushed each other to work hard, so we would have a good season.
So, how did you get the nickname “El Coffee”?
GP: I got the nickname from a coach I had when I was about 15 years old. It has nothing to do with drinking coffee. There was another player in the Dominican Republic who my coach said I looked like. People called him “El Coffee,” too, so my coach started calling me “El Coffee.” I’ve had that nickname ever since.
Where is your favorite place to get a cup of coffee in the city?
GP: The best coffee is from our clubhouse at PNC Park. Our video guy [Kevin Roach] makes it, and it is really good. It is a secret blend (laughs).
Don’t miss Polanco and the Pirates at PNC Park this month:
August 3-5 vs. Chicago Cubs
August 7-9 vs. LA Dodgers
August 17-19 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
August 20-23 vs. San Francisco Giants
August 28-30 vs. Colorado Rockies