Trio of injured Pirates 'available' for Shelton

Injury updates to Keone Kela, Colin Moran and Kevin Newman

August 26th, 2020

The Pirates apparently avoided the worst-case scenario with a trio of recent injuries, as manager Derek Shelton declared before Tuesday’s series opener against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field that shortstop , infielder and closer were active and available.

Moran exited Pittsburgh’s 5-4 win on Sunday at PNC Park early to be evaluated for a concussion. Newman left the game shortly after that due to lower right abdominal muscle discomfort. Shelton said the muscle “just kind of cramped up on him” after Newman struck out swinging in the third inning but, “It was nothing significant.”

Kela hasn’t been available since leaving Friday’s game holding his right forearm after throwing five pitches, an injury the team has described as “right forearm tightness.” Kela still has not thrown since walking off the mound with a trainer, Shelton acknowledged. But that evidently was not a prerequisite for the manager to reinstate him as an active member of Pittsburgh’s bullpen after three days off.

“All three are available,” Shelton said.

It’s unclear just how available they are at the moment, though. In addition to the questions surrounding Kela, the Pirates’ most attractive chip at the Trade Deadline if he’s healthy, neither Newman nor Moran was in the Bucs’ starting lineup against the White Sox on Tuesday night. Shelton also wouldn’t say if they will start Wednesday afternoon against left-hander Dallas Keuchel.

“I think we’ll make the assessment if we need them tonight, then we’ll make the assessment with it being a day game tomorrow with what we’re going to do and how they’re feeling and how we’re going,” Shelton said. “It’s just one of those things we’ll kind of play by ear.”

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When both players left Sunday’s game early due to injuries, many assumed the Pirates would call upon No. 2 prospect Ke’Bryan Hayes -- or at least bring him on the eight-game, three-city trip as a member of the taxi squad in case either Newman or Moran experienced a setback. But Hayes remained at the Pirates’ alternate training site camp in Altoona, Pa.

“There was no discussion of that,” Shelton said.

One interesting prospect who did make the trip was reliever . The hard-throwing righty joined fellow relief prospect , versatile right-hander and catcher on the taxi squad. Shelton said Cederlind, on the taxi squad for the first time this season, was included for depth purposes and to pitch in front of the big league coaching staff.

After impressing in Spring Training, Cederlind missed all of Summer Camp due to a positive test for COVID-19. The Pirates have been bringing him along slowly, mindful of his health after seeing so many pitchers injured already this season.

“He threw during 1.0 Spring Training and was really good. Obviously, he had a delay coming back,” Shelton said. “It’s just a matter of us to get eyes on him during this trip.”

It seemed like the Pirates might get setup man back on their active roster as soon as Wednesday, as he faced hitters in live batting practice on Monday at PNC Park. But Crick, who remains on the 10-day injured list with a right shoulder/lat muscle strain, is scheduled to throw another live BP session, Shelton said.

The Pirates will add another arm to their bullpen whenever right-hander , who was claimed off waivers on Monday, clears the health and safety protocol and joins the team on the road. Shelton said they were intrigued by the former first-round Draft pick’s makeup and upside.

“Obviously he’s a guy who’s a former No. 1 pick from Vandy. We had the opportunity to claim him, and we’re going to see what we’ve got,” the manager said. “If you talk to him or you talk to people about him, people rave about him as a person. We’re really intrigued by the stuff and how to use it, and we’re going to sit down and develop a plan for him.”