BRADENTON, Fla. – Nick Kingham is expected to be one of the biggest depth options for the Pirates’ rotation in the second half of the season. The right-hander is returning from Tommy John surgery, pitching in his first full season since the injury. But the start of his season will be delayed, as he will start the year on the disabled list with an ankle injury.
Kingham tweaked his ankle last week in a start. He has been getting it treated since then, but needed to skip a start.
“During one of the starts it just popped and didn’t feel very good, so we’re just treating it right now,” Kingham said.
He’s not sure of his exact timeline to return, but he expects to throw a bullpen soon. He was only up to three innings before the injury, so when he returns, he will need to get built back up.
That build-up could take some time. If he were to return next week and get back to three innings of work right away, he wouldn’t be up to a full start until mid-to-late April. The general rehab period for pitchers is 30 days from their first appearance, since that is usually how long it will take to get built up to a full start, pitching every five days and adding an inning each time out.
The silver lining to this is that the Pirates won’t have to worry about limiting Kingham’s innings this year like they did with Jameson Taillon last year. They skipped a few starts for Taillon, pulled him earlier in games at the start of the year, and pitched him on extended rest at some periods in time. That might not be necessary for Kingham, especially if he misses most of the month of April.
We will have coverage of Kingham’s injury and more updates on his potential return date to Indianapolis when he begins his rehab process in extended Spring Training.
Other Injury Updates
**Barrett Barnes is out with a hamstring strain. He told me that he expects to start his rehab in about ten days, and hopes to be playing in Indianapolis sometime around mid-to-late April.
**Jin-De Jhang will miss the start of the season with a right oblique injury, which he hurt in big league camp on a swing. He told me that he’s expected to miss about 4-6 more weeks, before returning to Altoona. He has already resumed receiving, and will start throwing this week. He’s not sure when he will resume swings, but is aiming to be playing in games by the end of April.
**Adrian Valerio has been out for a little over a week with a broken bone in his hand after getting hit by a pitch. He is in a hand cast right now, and expects to be back anywhere from late April to mid-May on his original 5-8 week recovery period. He will go to West Virginia when he returns.