BRADENTON, Fla. – A few injury updates to start this report, which will be a mix of MLB updates and prospect updates.
Pirates’ Director of Sports Medicine Todd Tomczyk said today that outfielder Daniel Nava would be sidelined for 10-12 weeks after undergoing back surgery. Things already weren’t looking good for Nava’s chances of making the team out of Spring Training without the injury. He now looks like a depth option when he returns around May, and he might not even be that if Jordan Luplow and/or Austin Meadows are ready and available at the time.
I asked Tomczyk about Jin-De Jhang, who I reported on earlier in the week, and he said that Jhang would be shut down for 7-10 days due to continued issues with his right elbow. Jhang played his last game in winter ball on December 10th. He had previously been hitting, but wasn’t to the point this week where he could throw.
I missed Tomczyk’s injury updates at LECOM, since I was doing some interviews this morning at Pirate City, and I was only able to catch him briefly in the afternoon. Per Adam Berry, Tomczyk said that Joe Musgrove is trending up after throwing a bullpen session yesterday, and will throw again this week. A.J. Schugel will not throw for a brief period due to right shoulder discomfort.
Shane Baz’s 2018 Placement
The minor leaguers had their second full workout for pitchers and catchers today. There are so many minor league pitchers throwing bullpens that they put most of them in the back bullpen, away from public or media viewing areas. You can still see what’s going on back there, but it doesn’t make for good photos or videos.
Fortunately, Shane Baz was throwing in the front bullpens, and I got the following video of him:
I’ll have more from Baz soon, although I do have a note about his placement. I talked with Larry Broadway today, who said that they won’t send him directly to West Virginia. However, it sounds like he could be on the Jameson Taillon path, spending about a month in extended Spring Training, before having the chance to go up to West Virginia.
More Position Notes
Following up on yesterday’s update about Hunter Owen and Oneil Cruz, I talked with Broadway about their new positions. Owen is learning the catching spot, and Broadway used Kevin Krause as an example of how much he could play the position. Krause was a right fielder for Bradenton this past year, but got a dozen games in behind the plate. Owen’s role could increase behind the plate, depending on how well he does at the position.
As for Cruz, he will be playing shortstop, and Broadway said that will be his primary position. He also wouldn’t confirm to me where Cruz will be going, saying “We’ll see” to both of my questions about whether he’d return to West Virginia, and whether he has an actual shot to start off with Bradenton.
If they’re going to have him playing shortstop, then my guess would be a West Virginia placement. The Bradenton middle infield already projects to have two shortstops with Stephen Alemais and Adrian Valerio. Meanwhile, West Virginia projects to have Rodolfo Castro, who has already started moving off the position in his career. Their middle infield was also cleared up a bit with the recent trade of Tristan Gray in the Corey Dickerson deal.
Owen, on the other hand, will go to Bradenton. He would probably be joined there by 2017 third round pick Michael Busby, which is why it will make sense for Owen to get some time at other positions.