Chris Stewart Could Have Knee Surgery

The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced that catcher Chris Stewart will get his right knee checked out by Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday. There is a good chance that Stewart might need surgery. Stewart last played in a game on March 12th, and injured the knee during the game.

The Pirates were projected to enter the season with Stewart as the backup catcher to Russell Martin. If they don’t add anyone else, then Tony Sanchez would be the next option to serve as the backup. Sanchez has a better bat than Stewart, but Stewart has better defensive skills. It’s also possible that the Pirates could look to add another backup catcher, preserving their depth in the event that Russell Martin or Sanchez get injured. They probably wouldn’t go that route until more is known on Stewart. Aside from Martin and Sanchez, the only catchers remaining in Major League camp are Nevin Ashley and Omir Santos.

More will be reported when Stewart’s diagnosis is known, and when it is known if he will miss any time.

UPDATE 4:19 PM: Chris Cotillo says the Pirates fear Stewart has a torn meniscus, and surgery is “probable”.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • freddylang

    Would never root for any injury but this could be a blessing. Tony Sanchez looks great at the plate and it is time for him to be up apprenticing Martin. I am all for defense but Stewart’s offense offsets most defensive advantage he brings. …and it’s not like Sanchez has terrible defensive skills anyways.

  • lonleylibertarian

    A quick look at ZIPS would suggest this could be a plus – swapping Sanchez for Stewart would be worth a bit more than half a win for the year

    • Ian Rothermund

      Is that worth a year of Sanchez’s service time?

      • lonleylibertarian

        Man you guys have drunk the years of control KoolAid. I am 68 years old – I really don’t give a rats ass about how good the team is going to be in 2021.

        I want to see the Pirates in the World Series before I die – one last time. I care about putting the best team possible on the field this year – and then worrying about how to do the same next year in the off season.

        Having Sanchez play a full season in Indy was an OK plan if Stewart was available – I was fine with the tradeoff. But he is not healthy – going to miss some time if not all year. Why not go for it – make Sanchez your backup catcher – heck maybe even we start Martin at 3rd for Pedro a couple of times with Tony at Catcher.

        One thing we seem to have in the pipeline is a number of good catching prospects – some have suggested Sanchez might only be needed for a year as a starter.

      • pittsburgh412

        If it was polanco or Tallion we were talking about but I don’t think we have much to worry about tony sanchez’s service time. He’s already 26 years old I think we have him through his age 32 season if he plays this year anyway

        • Ian Rothermund

          But the point is, does playing backup this year, is that worth the entire net loss of a year of service and any potential negative impact on his development? Does this put him in the best situation to be the starter from day 1 in 2015? It’s just a question and you people completely lose your minds. And no offense, but no one cares how old you are, this is still an asset that should be managed correctly. Maybe that does mean playing backup this year, maybe it’s playing AAA. I responded to you with a 1 line question, and you responded in turn with a complete overreaction. Lol. I understand your point about holding Sanchez back vs. someone like Taillon or Polanco, I just think it’s more complicated than, player A is worse than player B, so an extra year of his service time has no value. There are pros and cons.

          • wkkortas

            You know, Sanchez has played almost 400 games in the upper levels of the minors; he’s not Gregory Polanco in terms of “development”. The Pirates are going to control him thorugh his peak years no matter if he starts the year in Pittsburgh or Indianapolis. At this stage, if Sanchez isn’t a finished product, when is he going to be?

  • freddylang

    Trying out the image loader with a preseason pic against the Yankees. For some reason it wants to put two of the same pic in it appears

    • freddylang

      Figured it out: My internet is slow (Hughes net satellite during a storm-Price I pay for trying to circumvent Brighthouse) …so impatiently while I waited for one to load I loaded another…then when I removed one it shows both gone…so I loaded another…but the other was still there…so I still ended up with two. Next time I will just wait.

  • freddylang

    Tim. One thing I thought would be cool since I have been following this site is if you let fans of the site upload photos to the player pages…I imagine that could be a headache to admin for you because it would have to be managed when people put up poorly photographed pics or ones you would not want there…but it would be an awesome way for fans to see more looks at prospects.

  • Ian Rothermund

    What about Sanchez getting time at first in a worst case scenario? Gets his bat in games on a more regular basis at least. That’s the aspect of his development I see being most suppressed. I don’t see the transition from catcher to first as drastic as coming in from the outfield.

  • Born4rf

    Wow. Just wow. I try to be upbeat and I think as-is this team is still as good as they were most of last season but… geez, NH might go from having the best 1-2 FA signings of 2013 (Liriano and Martin) to the worst between Volquez and Stewart. A batting practice starter and an injured catcher with a Barmes bat.

    The great news is, as has already been said, we may end up better off if both fail. Sanchez looks ready for primetime and Stolmy & Co. could be far better longterm and short. So good to be deep.

  • bucsws2014

    If the “plan” was to keep Sanchez at Indy for more work at specific things and regular playing time, then it would seem the sensible thing to do is pick up a Stewart-like catcher. However, it appears Tony (in his small sample) is pretty adept at pitch framing himself, so there are few catchers who have that skill plus Tony’s offense.

    The only logical get I see is Cervelli from the Yankees. He wants out of NY, but he does want to be a starter. He might come here for a year though and bolster those pitch framing stats some more, increasing his FA value. At a salary of $700K and an 0.7 WAR, not sure what the Yankees might want – but they always need bullpen, which we have.

    • Ron Loreski

      If he can be had for Bryan Morris or Jeanmar Gomez, then I’m all for it. Lou Marson, who was just released by the Phillies can probably be signed for league minimum. But honestly, I think we’d all rather see Tony Sanchez.

  • marty34156

    Go get someway to provide depth, but have them at Indy. Sanchez deserves to be up here. Let him start 50 or so games this year to help keep Russ healthy and fresh.

  • joe g.

    Torn meniscus if that is the issue, should not shelf him for the season.

    • smurph

      joe, it really depends on how bad the tear is. You are right. Healing time on the meniscus can be fairly quick, but let’s remember he makes his living in a squatting position for 3 hrs.