Pirates Prospects » Injury News http://www.piratesprospects.com Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Thu, 26 Mar 2015 21:16:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Another Seven Figure Bonus Player Missing Time Due to Conditioning http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/another-seven-figure-bonus-player-missing-time-due-to-conditioning.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/another-seven-figure-bonus-player-missing-time-due-to-conditioning.html#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 17:32:35 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=96317 Harold Ramirez is currently on the rehab list at Pirate City since the start of camp. Ramirez has been working out in the mornings, but hasn’t played in any games yet. Pirates’ Director of Minor League Operations Larry Broadway said that Ramirez is currently out so that he can be better conditioned before he gets on the field. Last week we reported that Luis Heredia is behind in camp due to his conditioning.

Ramirez was slated to go to Bradenton this year, with the season starting in a little over two weeks. Broadway said that “time will tell” if he’s ready for the start of the season. Ramirez said it’s possible he could get back into games on Wednesday, but is unsure of that right now.

“I need to play first, right here in Spring Training,” Ramirez said on whether he could be ready for the start of the season.

When I asked what he was working on specifically, Ramirez said that he “needs to be athletic.” The outfielder did miss some time last year with a hamstring injury, then missed additional time with a stress reaction in his shin. He did play winter ball this off-season, but did not do well, hitting .200/.333/.229 in 70 at-bats. He started his season in Colombia late, then was hit by a pitch in his first place appearance and missed a couple of weeks, so he didn’t get in a full winter season.

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Andrew McCutchen Returns to the Pirates Lineup Tomorrow http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/andrew-mccutchen-returns-to-the-pirates-lineup-tomorrow.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/andrew-mccutchen-returns-to-the-pirates-lineup-tomorrow.html#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:03:25 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=96313 Some good news if you were worried about Andrew McCutchen’s status: the MVP will return to the Pirates’ lineup tomorrow against the Orioles.

. @thecutch22 returns in tomorrow’s #Pirates lineup against the Orioles. Jung-ho Kang also playing second base.

A photo posted by Pirates Prospects (@piratesprospects) on

McCutchen last played on March 12th, and has been out since then with what was described as lower body soreness. He said that he would have been playing if it had been the regular season, but the Pirates are taking it easy with him in Spring Training. His inclusion in tomorrow’s lineup should ease any concerns that something is seriously wrong.

Also notable, Jung-ho Kang will return to the lineup tomorrow, after having a “work day” over the weekend. He will be starting at second base, which is the final position the Pirates wanted him to play this Spring. He started at shortstop, then moved to third base. Kang should be an option off the bench at all three positions this year.

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Tony Sanchez Will Make the Pirates Roster Due to Chris Stewart Injury http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/tony-sanchez-will-make-the-pirates-roster-due-to-chris-stewart-injury.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/tony-sanchez-will-make-the-pirates-roster-due-to-chris-stewart-injury.html#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 21:08:49 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=96159 This isn’t really a big surprise, but Clint Hurdle announced today to the media that Tony Sanchez is on the team, due to Chris Stewart’s hamstring injury. The Pirates announced earlier this week that Stewart would need about two weeks off, which would have pushed him up to the start of the season. He will probably need some rehab time after that to get built up for the season, which is why it was easy to see that Sanchez would at least start the year in Pittsburgh.

Hurdle’s announcement today confirms this. Sanchez has had an impressive Spring, showing a lot of improvements with his arm and his defense. I think Stewart will get the backup job when he’s healthy, just for catching depth purposes, but this will be a good opportunity for Sanchez to try and change the Pirates’ minds about him, and maybe work himself into the plans behind the plate.

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The Latest Update on Chris Stewart Pretty Much Secures a Roster Spot For Tony Sanchez http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/the-latest-update-on-chris-stewart-pretty-much-secures-a-roster-spot-for-tony-sanchez.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/the-latest-update-on-chris-stewart-pretty-much-secures-a-roster-spot-for-tony-sanchez.html#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 11:01:51 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=96068 Last night I wrote about a few injury updates from the press conference with Clint Hurdle. The Pirates have released more information this morning, including updates on a few new players.

Chris Stewart – I wrote last night that Hurdle said there has been no progress with Stewart as he is dealing with a hamstring injury. The Pirates say he has a strain of his right hamstring, and that he is week to week, but will likely be out of game activity for at least two weeks. This makes it extremely unlikely that he will be ready for the start of the season, which would open a spot on the Opening Day roster for Tony Sanchez.

Brent Morel – Out with right hamstring discomfort. Progressing well, but remains unavailable for game activity.

Justin Sellers – Out with discomfort in his left Achilles tendon. Unavailable for game activity. He also went home to California yesterday for the birth of his child.

Jose Tabata – He went down last night with a right ankle contusion, and is unavailable for game activity.

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Notes: Injury Updates on McCutchen, Tabata, Stewart; Kang to Get Time at Second Base http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/notes-injury-updates-on-mccutchen-tabata-stewart-kang-to-get-time-at-second-base.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/notes-injury-updates-on-mccutchen-tabata-stewart-kang-to-get-time-at-second-base.html#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 03:10:52 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=96049 Here are some evening updates after the Pirates game against the Tigers, with several injury notes, and a few positional notes.

**Jose Tabata left tonight’s game after fouling a ball off his ankle. He left the game during the at-bat, and was carted off the field mid-inning. After the game, Clint Hurdle said that he had X-rays, which came back negative, and that he had a left ankle contusion.

**Andrew McCutchen is still out of the lineup with what has been described as lower body soreness. Hurdle said he felt better today and went through a full workout.

“He’s making progress,” Hurdle said. McCutchen said last week that he would be playing right now if this was the regular season.

**Chris Stewart, who is dealing with a hamstring problem, has seen no progress yet in his recovery. “I wouldn’t say there’s any progress right now. We’re probably in a holding pattern,” Hurdle said.

**Switching over to non-injury news, Jung-ho Kang will get some time at second base before the weekend. Kang has already played shortstop and third base, and now the Pirates will get him work at the final position. Hurdle has said from day one that they feel Kang can be an option off the bench this year at all three positions.

**Casey Sadler pitched an inning in relief tonight, five days after getting hit around as a starter for the first time this Spring. Hurdle said that Sadler wasn’t being moved to the bullpen yet.

“He’s still being prepared as a starter,” Hurdle said. “We’re just running out of innings and opportunity for some guys at this level.”

With that last note, you can probably expect some cuts from the pitching staff to come soon.

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Luis Heredia Hasn’t Pitched in Over Two Weeks While the Pirates Get Him in Better Shape http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/luis-heredia-hasnt-pitched-in-over-two-weeks-while-the-pirates-get-him-in-better-shape.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/luis-heredia-hasnt-pitched-in-over-two-weeks-while-the-pirates-get-him-in-better-shape.html#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 18:47:13 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=95967 Luis Heredia has not thrown a pitch off a mound since March 3rd. I first noticed that Heredia was out of action for a long period of time last week, when I was trying to find out when he would be throwing his next bullpen session so that I could get video of him throwing. I unsuccessfully tried getting information on when the next bullpen would be, then looked back over my notes to see that he hadn’t thrown since a bullpen session on March 3rd.

After following up on this issue, there’s no clear answer to why Heredia is out. He is listed in red on the roster sheets, but not with the rehab group, meaning he is limited, but able to play. I asked Heredia and Pirates’ Farm Director Larry Broadway if he was injured, and if there were any lingering issues from his shoulder injury last year. Both said no.

Broadway said that Heredia has been out in order to get in better shape.

“He’s just getting in better shape,” Broadway said. “He’s getting ready to compete, and wasn’t in a good enough spot yet. We wanted to take him out. He’s still throwing and everything, but we wanted to take an opportunity to get him in better shape before we started going on to the season.”

That’s a concern if you remember that he had similar issues two years ago. He was slated for West Virginia to start the 2013 season, but was shut down and held back in extended Spring Training after showing up to camp weighing 280 pounds. Heredia lost 40 pounds heading into the 2014 season, and looks to be in good shape this year. He downplayed the time off and the connection to the issue two years ago.

“I’ll be ready for the start of the season,” Heredia said. “It’s no big deal like two years ago.”

Broadway wouldn’t say when Heredia will throw off the mound again. Heredia said he thought he had one more week of workouts before he started back up. Both have said that he is still throwing, indicating his long toss program.

At this point it seems unlikely that Heredia will be ready for the start of the season. The minor league games started today, and to give an example of where pitchers are currently with their innings, Steven Brault and Jason Creasy both pitched two innings today. Brault is slated to start the year in Bradenton, with Creasy going to Altoona.

Brault threw his first bullpen session on March 4th, and his second on March 7th. He threw a one inning live batting practice on March 10th, and a two inning live batting practice on the 13th. He threw another bullpen session on the 15th, before throwing his two innings today.

Creasy had a similar progression. He threw a bullpen on March 3rd, and one more bullpen before throwing a live batting practice on the 9th. He went two innings in a live batting practice on March 12th. After a bullpen session on the 14th, he went two innings today.

Both pitchers had about two weeks from the time of their first bullpen session, to the time they threw their first live game. From here, pitchers usually build up their innings count in each start — with one start at three innings, one at four innings, and two at five innings — before they are ready for the season.

Heredia hasn’t thrown a bullpen since March 3rd. If he started up again tomorrow, and went on the same schedule that Brault and Creasy went on (which is a standard schedule for all starters), then he would be ready to pitch in a live game around the start of April. From there, he would have about four more starts, which would likely delay his 2015 debut until the end of April.

This is only speculation, as I don’t know what the plan is for Heredia. What I do know is that he hasn’t thrown off the mound since March 3rd, both he and Broadway say he’s not injured, and both say he needs to get in shape, with no real timetable given on when he will return to the mound.

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Connor Joe Will Likely Start the 2015 Season in Extended Spring Training http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/connor-joe-will-likely-start-the-2015-season-in-extended-spring-training.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/connor-joe-will-likely-start-the-2015-season-in-extended-spring-training.html#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 17:31:13 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=95968 Connor Joe missed all of the 2014 season with a back injury, throwing out his back during his first week with Jamestown, before he was able to play a game. The Pirates’ first round competitive balance pick wasn’t able to return during instructs, and didn’t get on the field until Spring Training rolled around. Even now, he has been limited on what he can do. Those limitations will most likely prevent him from starting the season in West Virginia.

“We’re probably going to start him [in extended Spring Training] anyways, and build up some volume, just because he doesn’t have the volume that he needs to get out there any play,” Pirates’ Farm Director Larry Broadway said. “He’s still not 100% as far as you’re free to go through the entire workday. So we’ve built up the workday volume, and we’re going to take some time building him up through games.”

Joe’s injury lingered last year, and basically led to eight months without any activity on a ball field. In a way, this Spring Training has been his rehab work, and the Pirates and focusing on bringing him back at a conservative pace.

“We’re going to take it slow. No need to break it out in the first year,” Broadway said.

Joe has been taking grounders at first and third base, and will likely split time between those two positions, with the bulk of the work coming at third base. He will eventually go to West Virginia when he’s ready to make his 2015 debut.

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Andrew McCutchen Removed From Today’s Lineup With Lower Body Soreness http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/andrew-mccutchen-removed-from-todays-lineup-with-lower-body-soreness.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/andrew-mccutchen-removed-from-todays-lineup-with-lower-body-soreness.html#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 15:53:11 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=95730 The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced that Andrew McCutchen was removed from today’s Spring Training lineup with lower body soreness. No further word on the issue, or whether this is serious or precautionary. Considering the early stage of Spring Training that we’re in, I’d say there’s a good chance it’s a precaution. I’ll have an update later today after Clint Hurdle’s press conference, or if any further information becomes available.

UPDATE 4:33 PM: Clint Hurdle said he had no update, and said they would take things “one day at a time.”

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Jameson Taillon Feels Good After His First Time Facing Hitters in a Year http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/jameson-taillon-feels-good-after-his-first-time-facing-hitters-in-a-year.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/jameson-taillon-feels-good-after-his-first-time-facing-hitters-in-a-year.html#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 15:43:47 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=95720 Jameson Taillon threw his first live batting practice today at Pirate City, going up against Corey Hart and Sebastian Valle. Ignoring performance, and ignoring the fact that Taillon is now throwing to live hitters, the most encouraging sign was what Taillon said afterward about how his elbow feels.

“Bending it doesn’t hurt. That’s good. It feels strong,” Taillon said. “I think tomorrow, it would be natural for me to be a little sore. But I feel really good right now. I felt good out there. The ball is coming out really good. I got some late swings. It’s a good sign that it was crisp.”

Taillon was throwing 35 pitches in his bullpen sessions prior to this step in his rehab process. Today he threw 28 pitches in the bullpen, followed by 20 pitches during the live BP.

“I had a really good throwing program before my bullpen,” Taillon said. “Started my bullpen off pretty well. And I think when we got out there, the extra added adrenalin sped me up a little bit in my delivery. Corey Hart was facing me, and he said that the second time through it looked a lot better. A lot more on time, and the ball was a lot crisper. It’s good feedback, and it felt good.”

Taillon said that he was a little amped up facing hitters for the first time in a year, but that he felt he did a good job of staying calm and having a good delivery. On Tuesday, I wrote about the evolution of his delivery, focusing on how he has reduced the drop in his delivery, and is now staying strong on his backside, and driving his head forward, which leads to better command and an easier ability to drive the ball down through the zone. I asked Taillon how those things were holding up against live hitters today.

“I thought I was staying back well,” Taillon said. “The slope of the mound and the extra adrenalin will sometimes cause you to drift a little bit towards the plate. I thought I did a good job of staying back. I nailed my finish. I wasn’t rolling off towards first, which was a good sign. I thought my head, for the most part, stayed inside the front of my foot. There were definitely a couple where I could feel it pulling off. That’s a good sign that I can feel it on my first one, and I know how to correct it now.”

The Pirates have kept Taillon on a conservative Tuesday/Friday schedule. He will remain on that schedule going forward, throwing bullpens on Tuesday, and live BP on Friday. Eventually he will move to a five-day schedule, which will probably come when he can go multiple innings, and when he’s ready to have the L-screen removed during live BP. Taillon doesn’t know at this point when that will be.

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Brandon Cumpton Has Tommy John Surgery http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/brandon-cumpton-has-tommy-john-surgery.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/03/brandon-cumpton-has-tommy-john-surgery.html#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 20:12:00 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=95533 Right-handed pitcher Brandon Cumpton had Tommy John surgery today, performed by Dr. James Andrews. The news isn’t unexpected, since it was announced last week that Cumpton would visit Andrews after experiencing pain in his elbow. In most cases, that results in surgery.

This means that Cumpton will be out for at least a year, and probably won’t be ready to start the 2016 season on Opening Day, based on how conservative the Pirates have been in bringing back pitchers from the injury. To give some perspective on a potential timeline, Clay Holmes had surgery last year on March 19th. He is currently throwing live BPs, and will get into sim games soon. However, he won’t be ready to start the regular season, and will need some time in extended Spring Training.

The early guess from Cumpton is that he will be out at least until the end of April 2016. He does have an option remaining. The Pirates could stash him on the 60-day DL this year, which would preserve the option and allow him to be used as depth next year out of Triple-A. The downside to this is that he’d burn a year of service time, but that’s a better alternative than having no options next year and returning from major surgery.

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