Neal Huntington met with the media yesterday, including our own Sean McCool, and had a few injury updates on prospects in the system, along with guys from the big league club. As we noted yesterday, Jung-ho Kang and Jared Hughes will begin rehab assignments with Indianapolis this week. Ryan Palencer will have live coverage of those first games, with full articles on both players and their progression.
Huntington did mention that they felt it was time to get Kang out against upper level competition, and that they sought his input on the next steps, since there is no real guideline for his injury type. He also noted that Hughes was throwing very well right now, leading to them pushing forward with his rehab.
Kang can spend no more than 20 days on rehab, which means he will return to the Majors by May 8th at the latest. Hughes has 30 days, as a pitcher, although it’s unlikely he would need that long. Both of them could return by the end of this month.
Here are the other updates from Huntington:
**Huntington said that there’s nothing new on Elias Diaz, and that he has continued discomfort. He did say that this isn’t related to the ligament. Diaz remains in a non-throwing status until the Pirates evaluate all of the opinions on his elbow.
**Trevor Williams was placed on the 7-day DL in Indianapolis after feeling shoulder soreness in his first start. Huntington said that this was more about avoiding playing short a player in Indianapolis, with the shorter DL allowing them to skip a starter at the level with any kind of setback. Williams will throw a bullpen, and they will see how he feels after that.
**Cory Luebke was placed on the MLB disabled list last week with hamstring tightness. Huntington said that he didn’t feel 100%, and that the bullpen usage led to them being aggressive to place him on the DL.
“We wanted to make sure we get him back and get him in a position where he can come help this club,” Huntington said. “Ideally, without the hamstring, he’s probably in that position. Given that hamstring and the delay that it causes… he pushed really hard to come back from it. It’s not typically a 3 week injury. In hindsight, we might have pushed, and he might have pushed, a little too hard so we’re just going to take a deep breath, let this hamstring get to where it needs to be, and get him back on track.”
As for whether the hamstring could have contributed to his control problems, Huntington noted the impact a leg injury can have on mechanics.
“For a pitcher to have any leg issues at all, it certainly has some impact [on mechanics],” Huntington said. “In Cory’s case, the downtime and the push to get back, he battled. Again, he was healthy and felt like he was good to go. It’s not like he was pushing through a hamstring that was bothering him. There is some residual effect of it, and rather than have it linger, we decided, as soon as he reported a little inflammation, we wanted to get it out.”