Pirates Prospects » Injury News http://www.piratesprospects.com Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Thu, 13 Nov 2014 18:23:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Good News on Alen Hanson’s Injured Hand http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/good-news-on-alen-hansons-injured-hand.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/good-news-on-alen-hansons-injured-hand.html#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 03:17:33 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=90164 After a report out of the Dominican said that Alen Hanson would undergo surgery in the United States for his injured right hand, Hanson’s agent took to Twitter with an update that had much better news. Hanson’s injury won’t require surgery and he will miss “at least three weeks”. From the sound of it, that means he will return to play winter ball this year. The injury occurred last Sunday when Hanson was hit on the hand by a pitch from Daniel Cabrera. He immediately left the game and was wearing a cast the next day.

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Update on Alen Hanson’s Hand Injury Doesn’t Sound Good http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/10/update-on-alen-hansons-hand-injury-doesnt-sound-good.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/10/update-on-alen-hansons-hand-injury-doesnt-sound-good.html#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 22:59:42 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=89984 Last night in the Dominican Winter League, Alen Hanson was hit on the right hand by a pitch from Daniel Cabrera and immediately left the game. It was reported that his hand was “pretty swollen” after the game and the extent of the injury was unknown. Reports from the Dominican today are that he is now in a cast and will probably be headed to Pittsburgh for further evaluations. It doesn’t sound like this is a minor injury and it could possibly end his winter season. While you obviously don’t like to see any type of injuries, one like this is better this time of year, rather than the end of the winter league season, which extends into late January.

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Russell Martin Expects to Play Tomorrow http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/russell-martin-expects-to-play-tomorrow.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/russell-martin-expects-to-play-tomorrow.html#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 21:42:03 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=88917 Russell Martin has been dealing with a hamstring issue, and his status for the Wild Card game was in question. That was until he spoke with the media today. Then there was little doubt that the star catcher would play. Martin said that he felt good enough to play, and when asked what led to that decision, his answer was as simple as can be.

“It’s the playoffs,” Martin said.

He later addressed the same question and indicated that any issues he might have, he’d be playing through them.

“It’s pretty important baseball,” Martin said. “Not that the other games weren’t. But this is for all the marbles. I can definitely go.”

The news offers some big relief for the Pirates, who were also dealing with an injury to backup Chris Stewart. Clint Hurdle said in his press conference that Stewart was good to go, and Stewart said that his wrist is feeling better.

“It’s sore, but it’s progressively gotten better every day,” Stewart said. “Even initially, probably ten minutes after it happened, it started feeling better.”

Despite the fact that Martin is expected to play, and Stewart is healthy, the Pirates will most likely carry three catchers tomorrow.

“I think it would behoove us to carry three,” Hurdle said.

The important thing is having Martin as the starter, and from the sound of things, he will be making that start tomorrow.

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Charlie Morton Undergoes Hip Surgery http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/charlie-morton-undergoes-hip-surgery.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/charlie-morton-undergoes-hip-surgery.html#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 21:23:26 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=88740 The Pittsburgh Pirates announced today that pitcher Charlie Morton underwent surgery today to repair the labrum in his right hip. The surgery was performed by Dr. Thomas Byrd in Nashville, TN. The estimated recovery time for this particular procedure in 6-8 months, which puts Morton’s return if all goes well right around Opening Day, but the more likely return date would be a month or two into the season because he would be behind in his off-season preparation.

Morton finished the year with a 3.72 ERA in 157.1 innings over 26 starts. He was recently placed on the 60-day disabled list when the Pirates picked up Chaz Roe off waivers.


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Morton to see Specialist, Gallardo’s Success against the Pirates http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/morton-to-see-specialist-gallardos-success-against-the-pirates.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/morton-to-see-specialist-gallardos-success-against-the-pirates.html#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:58:07 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=88423 Morton’s Season Dependent on Doctor’s Visit

Before today’s game, the Pirates announced that Vance Worley will start Sunday in place of Charlie Morton. Morton pitched Tuesday against the Red Sox, throwing five scoreless, four hit innings. Morton ran up his pitch count to 92 on the game, and was taken out early as a result. Some late pain might have factored in, as well.

“Actually felt some discomfort at the end of the game,” Hurdle said.

Morton will see a doctor next week, the press release said, and that will determine the Pirates’ next decision with him.

“It’s really going to be up to the doctor’s visit,” Hurdle said. “Just got to slow down, hit pause, and send him to the specialist and see what happens.”

Pirates Hope to Break Struggles Against Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo has notoriously nominated the Pirates throughout his career, earning a 2.67 ERA and 158 strikeouts (148.1 innings) in 25 appearances (24 starts) against the Pirates. This year, he’s pitched 30.1 innings for a 2.97 ERA against the Pirates.

“His command is always his biggest ally. We’ve seem him evolve over the years. Came in throwing harder, now he’s pitching away, he’s cutting the ball. The changeup’s a big pitch. Fastball command, he can throw it in a teacup at times,” Hurdle said. “Good mound presence, poise, slow heartbeat. He competes well. He’s not going to back away. He’s not going to give into the hitter.”

In his last start versus the Pirates on August 22, though, he ran into a bit of trouble, lasting only five innings, walking three, and allowing six runs, three of which were earned. Gallardo threw 99 pitches in the start. The start before that against the Pirates he pitched seven scoreless, though the Pirates worked his pitch count to 121.

“I think we’ve had many games where we’ve been able to stretch him and get him to jack up pitch counts,” Hurdle said.

The key today, again, will be staying patient at the plate.

“The fastball, curveball, slider, they’re in play, it’s going to play away from the left handers,” Hurdle said. “We got to get him up. We’ve got to make him throw strikes, not chase.”

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Vance Worley to Start on Sunday After Charlie Morton Ruled Out http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/vance-worley-to-start-on-sunday-after-charlie-morton-ruled-out.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/vance-worley-to-start-on-sunday-after-charlie-morton-ruled-out.html#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:20:52 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=88419 Vance Worley will be starting Sunday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates’ General Manager Neal Huntington announced. The start was previously slated to go to Charlie Morton, who returned from the disabled list to start on Tuesday against the Red Sox. As we reported yesterday, Morton’s status was up in the air for Sunday. Huntington ruled out Morton in today’s announcement.

“Charlie Morton experienced increased discomfort near the end of his last start and again during his bullpen session yesterday,” Huntington said via press release. “Charlie will have a follow up exam next week and a course of action will be determined after that exam.”

The move might not make a huge impact, as Worley has been a good pitcher this year. Meanwhile, Morton has been pitching injured, and obviously isn’t at 100% health. He pitched well in his start against Boston, and you’d like to see that kind of pitching against the Brewers. But it might be better at this point to try and get him healthy for the playoffs, especially since the Pirates are now considered near-locks to make the post-season.

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Charlie Morton’s Availability For Sunday Start Up in the Air http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/charlie-mortons-availability-for-sunday-start-up-in-the-air.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/charlie-mortons-availability-for-sunday-start-up-in-the-air.html#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:00:49 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=88317 Charlie Morton is scheduled to throw a bullpen before tonight’s game against the Red Sox. How he feels afterwards will determine whether or not he is able to start Sunday against the Brewers.

According to Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle, Morton felt good throwing off of flat ground since he made his start on Tuesday night. However, his bullpen session will prove whether or not he is comfortable enough throwing off of a mound.

“I think we’ll get a lot of feedback today, I feel confident in that. I don’t think he’s going to do anything taxing. [He’s throwing] a 30-35 pitch bullpen. We’re still taking it one day at a time. I feel optimistic but again he has to go out there and throw off of a slope today, and we’ll see where we are then,” Hurdle said.

If everything goes well for Morton, it seems likely he will be making the start on Sunday.

If Morton does not feel healthy enough to pitch, Vance Worley is ready and available to make the start in that spot. The fact that he has not pitched in over a week does not change his availability, Hurdle explained.

“He’s in a routine that a lot of pitchers are in during the season, and if he were to come back, he [only missed one] start. He’ll pick up some extra work in the bullpen or maybe an extra side session [until Sunday]. He could take Charlie’s spot on Sunday [if needed].”


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Hurdle on Liriano; Jordy Mercer Injury Update http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/hurdle-on-liriano-jordy-mercer-injury-update.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/hurdle-on-liriano-jordy-mercer-injury-update.html#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 20:58:51 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=88270 Francisco Liriano gets the nod tonight against Boston, making his 27th start of the season.

Liriano has pitched like an ace in the second half of the season, with a 2.22 ERA and a 2.68 xFIP. One of the big differences in Liriano’s performance in the second half has been his ability to limit the walks and command all three of his pitches. Liriano lowered his first half 4.91 BB/9 to 3.26 BB/9 in the second half. His better command has raised his strikeout rate to 29% in the second half, which is 3rd in all of baseball, behind only Corey Kluber and Chris Sale.

Hurdle credits Liriano’s strong second half to his health. Hurdle explained that he didn’t begin the season at 100% health, and it challenged him to hold his delivery.

“When the oblique [injury] showed up, that obviously shut him down. I think he got rested, I think he was very good in his approach to his rehab, and when he did come back he was 100% healthy. He had no limitations, no reservations, and he’s pitched like it. It got him back to a good place on the mound. He is confident and his fastball effectiveness makes everything else play,” Hurdle said.

The effectiveness of Liriano’s off-speed pitches have also played a major role in his success in the second half. Hurdle raved about Liriano’s change-up in his last start against Philadelphia.

“Sometimes you feel like you can yell change-up and it’ll still be hard to hit. The counts that he is able to throw it in is what makes a very solid fastball, velocity-wise, play even bigger. He can throw [his change-up] in 2-0 counts, in 3-2 counts, it [makes for] a different dynamic at the plate.”

Having this version of Liriano gives the Pirates an ace-type pitcher that they can match up with any other team in October.

Mercer Update

Jordy Mercer is being held out of the starting lineup again for the second straight night, as he is dealing with tightness in his back.

Hurdle says that the trainers will be testing him before the game to see what his availability is for tonight’s contest. His injury does not appear to be more than a day-to-day concern.

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The Tommy John Rehab Progress For Jameson Taillon and Clay Holmes http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/the-tommy-john-rehab-progress-for-jameson-taillon-and-clay-holmes.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/the-tommy-john-rehab-progress-for-jameson-taillon-and-clay-holmes.html#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 18:09:53 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=88137 The Pittsburgh Pirates have done a good job of preserving pitcher health and avoiding major injuries in the minors. A lot of this is due to their conservative approach with pitch counts and innings limits, especially at the lower levels. Despite this, it’s impossible to totally avoid injuries with pitchers, as we saw this year. In Spring Training, top prospects Jameson Taillon and Clay Holmes both went down with Tommy John surgery. Both pitchers have since been rehabbing, and are now making their way back with their throwing programs.

“All very positive, all on course,” Huntington said of the injured pitchers. “Jameson has begun the throwing program which is a long and drawn out process.”

We’ve detailed a bit of that process in a few updates with Taillon, noting that he started throwing at the end of July, then expanded to throwing from 75 feet at the start of this month. Even with that progress, he still has a long road to go. Pitchers don’t usually start throwing until four months after the surgery, and that leaves about eight months until they’ve fully returned to the mound. For Taillon, as well as Clay Holmes, that timeline puts them on pace to return at the start of the 2015 season. Huntington said the two are currently on course for next year, while noting the limitations of the surgery.

“Tommy John does not make you better,” Huntington added. “It’s a long and arduous road and if we can get that in the mind of coaches and parents of 14-17 year olds, you want to avoid it at all costs. But if you get it, then you work hard to come through it, as Jameson and Clay Holmes and some of the other guys are doing that, and they’re on course for next year.”

In most cases, a pitcher takes a year to return to where he was at before the injury. That’s the hope with Taillon and Holmes. Taillon has a more immediate impact to the Pirates, since a typical return from surgery would put him on pace to join the big league club next year. Holmes is more of a long-term option. He would have started in Bradenton this year, and will likely go back to that level next year. Prior to the injury, he had the upside of a middle of the rotation pitcher who could eat 200 innings a year.

The big news with both pitchers will come closer to Spring Training, as that will give a better indication of how close they are to a full return on schedule.

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Polanco returns to lineup, Morton to start on Tuesday http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/polanco-returns-to-lineup-morton-to-start-on-tuesday.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/09/polanco-returns-to-lineup-morton-to-start-on-tuesday.html#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 17:06:08 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=88096 Gregory Polanco will get the start today in right field, hitting 8th in the lineup in the series finale against the Cubs. Jacob Turner — who has given up an .808 OPS against lefties — will start with the Cubs.

“We keep having optimism that he’s getting closer,” Clint Hurdle said. “We’ll give him a couple more opportunities to put some at bats today.”

After a hot start following his call up, opposing pitchers made adjustments to their approach against Polanco. Now Polanco has to adjust back, Hurdle said.

“He had as productive first couple weeks as any young player can have,” Hurdle said. “We are engaged in a society here in sports that, that information went viral throughout the league. Everybody saw what he could hit. So they counter-punched. How are they going to attack? Well, he handled hard, he handled middle, he handled thigh. Let’s go down and away, lets spin soft down, go hard up.”

Hurdle liked the progress Polanco made in his brief demotion to the minors.

“He went down just to get at bats, to look out over the plate, to hold your backside. Now, here, it’s continued along those lines,” Hurdle said.

And since he’s come back up to the minors, he’s worked to continue that progress.

“He’s got to recalibrate, he’s got to find a right way to reboot,” Hurdle said. “He’s worked extremely hard since he’s been back, whether it be off the spin machine, in velocity in the cage, taking it out on the field, some directional hitting. We think he’s close.”

In addition to Polanco’s return to the lineup today, Charlie Morton will return to the rotation against the Red Sox on Tuesday. He’ll take the place of Vance Worley.

“He could either piggy back Charlie’s start, or play out of the bullpen,” Hurdle said.

After Morton, Francisco Liriano will start on Wednesday and Gerrit Cole on Thursday.

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