Gregory Polanco looks inside his hat whenever he's in search of mindfulness. There, written on the right side of each cap, is a two-word phrase: "Be You!" Scott Bonnett, the Pirates' longtime clubhouse manager, first spoke those words to Polanco last month.
At the time, Polanco, now in his fifth season with the Pirates, was gradually emerging from another valley in his star-crossed career. He batted only .192 with 42 strikeouts in 41 games from April 13 through June 5, a stretch he says was the result of putting too much pressure on himself and listening to too many outside voices.
Although moving a few inches off the plate has him better equipped to barrel up inside pitches, Polanco credited his improved self-awareness — at the plate and off the field — with helping him emerge from another difficult stretch in his career.
"I'm having fun again," Polanco told DKPittsburghSports.com at Progressive Field in Cleveland. "A couple months ago I was lost. Now I’ve got it back. There’s still a lot of work to do. But when I do something wrong, I feel it. A month ago I didn’t feel it."