PITTSBURGH -- Even though he’s only in his first full Major League season, Ke'Bryan Hayes has been by far one of the most even-keeled players on the Pirates.
But on Sunday in Pittsburgh, the frustration caught up to him in one moment.
In the sixth inning, Hayes was called out on strikes on a pitch that was just off the plate. He turned to home-plate umpire Chris Conroy in confusion, then trotted off to the dugout without showing much emotion.
“I was frustrated after [that] at-bat,” Hayes said, “and I had my helmet, came in and banged it. By the time I went out on defense, [my hand] was kind of swollen and I had noticed a little dot there.”
The dot was a blood blister between the index and middle finger on his right hand, and it was caused by the recoil of his helmet in the emotional moment. Hayes will avoid the injured list for the time being, as manager Derek Shelton said he’s day to day.
Hayes has had to deal with some struggles offensively after breaking out last September. This August, he hit just .223 with a .610 OPS in 26 games.
But Hayes knows that any time on the playing field is valuable, and he hopes to keep a cooler head next time.
“I missed two months already this year, so I’ve just got to be a lot smarter than that,” Hayes said. “It’s not fair to my teammates, the manager making the lineup and all that kind of stuff. I’ve just got to be smarter with that, especially with all of the time that I missed this year.”
Park ready to show growth
The Pirates recalled Hoy Park on Tuesday, not long after he went through the toughest stretch of his early MLB career.
Park began his tenure with the Pirates batting .300 with four doubles and a home run in 11 games, showcasing his advanced command of the strike zone to get ahead in counts. Then, things turned sharply; after that point, the 25-year-old went 0-for-20 in seven games before the club sent him down to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Those issues weighed on Park’s mind at the time, as he felt he was still trying to simplify the game the way he had been doing, but nothing was going right.
“When I was here that last week, I was struggling,” Park told MLB.com. “My mental [strength] almost broke. I tried to fix my mind, get it right and try to help the team win.”
The time at Indianapolis -- where he played only five games before being recalled -- ended up being as much of a breather as it was a chance to make adjustments to his swing. Park feels like he’s in a much better spot now.
“When I got sent down, I was like, ‘When I get called up again, it’s not going to happen again,’” Park said. “So in my mind, it’s still help the team, help the team, be better than that.”