Coming out of Spring Training, both Jaff Decker and Chris Stewart had nagging leg injuries. Stewart was bogged down with a hamstring ailment, while Decker was suffering from a calf issue.

Stewart progressed his rehab assignment to Indianapolis on Sunday, joining Decker, who started the season there. Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor was extremely excited about what Decker showed on the offensive end on Saturday. He also noted that Sunday’s day off was not a set back and was simply protocol.

“Decker really swung the bat well two nights ago,” Treanor said. “His program was to give him yesterday off, but it would have been nice to run him back out there the way that he was swinging the bat the night before.”

With the calf injury, defensive range also comes into question. Treanor said that he looks just fine in that regard.

“He is moving very well in the outfield,” Treanor said. “Two nights ago he had to go to his left, right, and back to get some balls and it looked like everything was fine. He is on the right track.”

After his first game, Treanor was pleased with Stewart’s progression as well.

“Stewart, yesterday, I thought did a really phenomenal job behind the plate with [Wilfredo] Boscan and the bullpen that came in,” Treanor said. “He had a plan, felt out the hitters, and you could tell that it was big league fingers back there behind the plate. He also swung the bat well.”

Stewart picked up a pair of singles in four at-bats on Sunday.

Along with the progression in success, Stewart also caught the entire game yesterday. Treanor said that he will have Monday off and then catch both Tuesday and Wednesday. Stewart will then be re-evaluated after his reaction to back-to-back days in the lineup.

Activation for both players will create interesting situations. For Decker, it may mean being optioned right back to Indianapolis, as the Pirates outfield is jam-packed. For Stewart, the decision will likely be about Tony Sanchez. After a solid Spring and a decent start in Pittsburgh, Sanchez could very well be the odd man out, as he still has options.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Sanchez is a better player right now than Stewart,, and he is part of the future. If we are serious about winning the division, Sanchez has to say.

    • If we are serious about winning the division, we might wanna try to keep as much depth as possible. Because you would show up in a month if Cervelli gets hurt and Sanchez is the starter going “well now we gotta bring up Diaz” when it was totally avoidable. I like T Sanchez, i want him to succeed, but the idea that he is so clearly better than Stewart isnt logical nor does it make the team better to release Stewart. Both have value to this team.

      • Sanchez is clearly is clearly a better hitter right now, and he will be better defensively if his throwing correction holds up. Sanchez will help this team win more games than

        • Ill set aside the idea that Sanchez is a better defender if his throwing holds up, because arguments can be made on both sides of that.

          So to the other points, your logic asserts that its playing scared to keep depth if one player is somewhat lesser than another. You dont, at any point, admit depth is key to winning. You even mock it, calling it illogical (or by association the idea in this case illogical) and scared. Which ignores that you almost always do have to rely on depth during the season and (big one here) the current starting catcher hasnt played a full year basically ever.

          Suggesting that, based on history, PIT is going to need their C depth this year (like it did before ST ended). So if they release Stewart and bring up Sanchez, if either of them gets hurt you either promote Diaz and bench him or scramble for the least crappy option. Playing to win includes having backup plans and solid depth for when injuries do occur. Because if you dont, you end up having to use Michael Martinez and looking stupid. Lastly, and honestly i dont mean this inherently as a personal attack, but if you think you can find a Stewart like backup at any time….that’s rather dumb. Chris Stewart is flawed…he isnt a dime a dozen replacement level. He has been a replacement level bat or far lower most of his career, yet has posted positive WAR 4 years straight.

          If we had already released Stewart yesterday, committed to Sanchez today and Sanchez and/or Cervelli got hurt today, the FA market consists of Doumit, Chris Snyder, Jose Molina, Eli Whiteside, and (if you can believe it) worse options as we go along. The current FA C situation is like a whos who of ex Pirates we all want to forget and old guys that never had a prime. If Stewart was gone and Cervelli got hurt, you’d likely have to put your hopes on Wilkin Castillo as a backup. That, friend, is playing to lose. Avoiding playing Michael Martinez type players should be, and was this offseason, important to a quality FO. Because if all breaks bad (how quickly we forget 2011) having Tony Sanchez in AAA for depth can save a season.

  2. For Stewart… Does he have any trade value if by June cervelli is healthy, Sanchez shows MLB level defence and Diaz continues to develop? That is a lot of its… But does he have any value or is competent defensive catcher depth worth more than a low A lottery tucket

    • Stewart really is what he is at this point, a light bat catcher who is generally rated as solid on defense. I doubt anyone would give up a legit prospect, maaybe you get some team in a big need giving up a lower end B type. I doubt they are going to actively look to take away depth at that spot with Cervelli not being a picture of health over his career. Sanchez as the go to injury replacement seems to work.

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