BRADENTON, Fla. – Wyatt Mathisen, one of the top third base prospects in the Pirates’ system, is currently resting a sore shoulder in minor league camp. The 2012 second round pick has dealt with shoulder issues before, missing a lot of time in 2013 after going down in April. Because of that, the Pirates are being cautious here.
“That’s why we’re being so cautious with it,” Mathisen said. “We know it happened in the past, so we’re taking it easy, not letting it get back to where it was a couple years ago.”
Pirates Director of Minor League Operations Larry Broadway confirmed that Mathisen would miss the start of the year, and that there isn’t a set date for his return.
“It’s a period of shutdown, and then we’ll have to reevaluate and see,” Broadway said.
Mathisen was drafted as a catcher, but the previous shoulder issues forced a move to third base to limit the wear and tear on the arm. He should remain at third when he returns, going to Altoona.
**Luis Heredia threw a live batting practice yesterday, and is behind a lot of other pitchers due to back tightness at the start of camp. Heredia was feeling the tightness during winter ball, and it flared up the first week of camp. He is currently slated to be a reliever in Bradenton, after struggling the last few years in the rotation. Broadway said he’d build up to multiple innings in Spring Training, so it sounds like he could be a long reliever, with a shot at moving back to the rotation if he does well. Heredia is expected to be ready for the start of the season.
**Frank Duncan also missed the start of camp with an oblique injury, and threw live batting practice for the first time yesterday. He is competing for a bullpen spot in Altoona, after spending the last two years as a starter in Bradenton and West Virginia. Duncan will be built up to three innings, so expect him to be a long reliever in Altoona, assuming he does get a spot there. He’s a sinkerball guy with great control, and might have a shot at being a middle reliever in the majors one day. Duncan will be ready at the start of the season.
**Kevin Krause had Tommy John surgery last June, which is a rare procedure for position players, and caused him to miss the entire 2015 season. He was expected to have a ten month recovery time, and is just now getting back to game action. Tomorrow will be his first game, and he will be hitting only.
“Tomorrow I get a DH opportunity,” Krause said. “I’m ready to mash.”
Krause showed a lot of power in the second half of 2014 after he was drafted. That power is appealing behind the plate, and the Pirates will give him most of his time there, while also getting him some time in the outfield when he’s not catching. He won’t be ready for the start of the season, and doesn’t know where he will go, although I’m guessing it would be West Virginia, since that gives him his best shot of getting plenty of work behind the plate.