Stewart taking time to let ailments heal

June 21st, 2016

PITTSBURGH -- Chris Stewart walked into the Pirates clubhouse Monday afternoon with an elastic bandage wrapped around his left knee, the end result of, of all things, an ankle injury.

Stewart has been sidelined since Saturday by a stiff left knee that came about as he tried to play through a sore left ankle. Stewart's ankle forced him out of a game June 11, and he had a rough Tuesday night in New York, where he was swatted in the jaw on a backswing and hit in the left hip by a pitch.

When Stewart woke up Wednesday morning, his ankle didn't bother him. His knee ached, and that kept him out until Friday.

"I think I was compensating with some other body parts," Stewart said.

Stewart got back behind the plate Friday at Wrigley Field, but he experienced the same discomfort and swelling when he woke up Saturday morning. Finally, the Pirates decided to rest him until he was fully healthy.

"One thing finally heals, another thing arises," Stewart said. "Seems like that's the way things have been going the last couple weeks.

"Take a couple days off, giving it time to get under control, giving the rest of my body a chance to heal properly to where I'm not compensating in a certain area."

Stewart is planning to test his knee Tuesday afternoon, potentially putting him in position to play against the Giants on Tuesday night.

Stewart is not banged up enough to merit a trip to the disabled list. To that end, the Pirates called up catcher Jacob Stallings on Sunday and paired him with Erik Kratz.

"It's not really the best timing for this to happen, given everything that's going on," Stewart said. "I'll try to make sure that once I am back, I'm helping the team, not being back in there just to be in there.

"Knees are pretty important to a catcher. Being able to bend them in the proper direction, that's always helpful."

Around the horn

• The Pirates' injuries have apparently now reached the coaching staff. Pitching coach Ray Searage left PNC Park early Monday night due to back spasms and arthritis in his left wrist. Bullpen coach Euclides Rojas served as Pittsburgh's pitching coach in his place.

• Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, on the 60-day disabled list with facial fractures, is now able to throw on the field. Vogelsong, who had surgery June 2, isn't fully playing catch -- he's not receiving throws, with the Pirates fearing a deflected ball might carom into his recently broken left orbital bone.

Vogelsong is eligible to come off the disabled list July 23. Since rejoining the club, he has stated his intent to pitch again this season.

• Ace right-hander Gerrit Cole played catch Sunday at Wrigley Field and again Monday at PNC Park, his first time throwing since leaving his June 10 start with a strained right triceps. The Pirates haven't put a timeline on Cole's potential return to the rotation.