Gregory Polanco returned to his locker stall following batting practice Tuesday afternoon at PNC Park to discover he had more than 20 missed calls and 50 unread text messages. He scrolled through the messages to find well wishes from concerned friends and family members.
Many of the texts also included the same image. It was a screenshot of a tweet sent from what appeared to be ESPN's account, saying "Hot News: Gregory Polanco from Pitsburg Pirates to be suspended for 80 due to steroids." The name of the city was spelled wrong and the tweet contained another typo. However, news outlets in the Dominican Republic believed the tweet to be true and the story spread throughout his home country.
Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, also a native of the Dominican Republic and a close friend of Polanco, was suspended 80 games earlier in the day for violating Major League Baseball's joint drug agreement. Polanco, starting in right field against the White Sox that night, quickly called his parents to assure them he was fine.
Both were crying when he finally got in touch with them.
"Everyone was so worried," Polanco told DKPittsburghSports.com Thursday afternoon. "My parents were crying. It was tough, man. I have to stay positive. It’s something that’s wrong. Don’t put my name on that. Stay away from me with that. I can't believe someone would do that."