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Nava has back surgery; out 10-12 weeks

MLB.com @adamdberry

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Pirates outfielder Daniel Nava will be sidelined for 10 to 12 weeks after undergoing back surgery on Tuesday, director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said.

The procedure was a microdiscectomy performed by Dr. Christopher Yeung. Nava saw the Pirates' team doctors, including medical director Dr. Patrick DeMeo, before receiving a second opinion from Dr. Yeung in Arizona and deciding to have surgery.

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Pirates outfielder Daniel Nava will be sidelined for 10 to 12 weeks after undergoing back surgery on Tuesday, director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said.

The procedure was a microdiscectomy performed by Dr. Christopher Yeung. Nava saw the Pirates' team doctors, including medical director Dr. Patrick DeMeo, before receiving a second opinion from Dr. Yeung in Arizona and deciding to have surgery.

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"I think that is some closure for him," said manager Clint Hurdle, who spoke with Nava before the operation and texted him on Wednesday. "Now, he'll go about the resting period and walk into the rehab period."

Nava, 35, was held out of the Pirates' workout on Feb. 22 due to what the team described as "low back discomfort." The veteran switch-hitter was hoping to secure a spot on the Bucs' Opening Day bench after signing a Minor League contract on Feb. 9.

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Combined with last week's acquisition of Corey Dickerson and the release of Michael Saunders, Nava's extended absence brings some clarity to what had been a muddled outfield picture. Dickerson will start in left, joining center fielder Starling Marte and right fielder Gregory Polanco. Super utility men Sean Rodriguez and Adam Frazier can play the outfield, but their versatility would allow the Bucs to carry a dedicated fourth outfielder if they felt that was their best option.

With the lineup set, four players have seemingly secured reserve roles: David Freese, Elias Diaz, Rodriguez and Frazier. That leaves one spot on the bench for a handful of candidates, including outfielders Bryce Brentz and Jordan Luplow, infielder Max Moroff and infielder/outfielder Jose Osuna.

Brentz, the only one without Minor League options remaining, started in left on Wednesday and made a leaping catch in front of the Green Monster at JetBlue Park. Luplow, a right-handed-hitting outfielder like Brentz, made his debut last season after breezing through Double-A and Triple-A, but he may benefit from more time in the Minors.

The switch-hitting Moroff would provide the Bucs with additional infield depth, freeing up Frazier and/or Rodriguez to spend more time in the outfield. The club has said Osuna, who plays first and started on Wednesday at third base, is also capable of handling a small outfield corner.

Trainer's room
Tomczyk said right-hander Joe Musgrove (right shoulder discomfort) is "trending upward" after throwing a bullpen session on Tuesday. He will throw again later this week. Reliever A.J. Schugel (right shoulder discomfort) will not throw for a "brief period," Tomczyk said, after consulting with team doctors.

Non-roster catcher Jin-De Jhang (right elbow discomfort) will not participate in baseball activities for the next week to 10 days. Rule 5 Draft pick Nick Burdi and non-roster righty Bo Schultz have experienced "no hiccups" in their rehabilitation following Tommy John surgery, Tomczyk said. Schultz is throwing batting practice, and Burdi is playing catch on flat ground.

On the mound
Right-hander Chad Kuhl enjoyed a smooth spring debut in Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Red Sox in Grapefruit League action. Kuhl threw two perfect innings on 18 pitches, mixing in his full arsenal of fastballs, changeups, sliders and one curveball to Xander Bogaerts.

"Huge for this upcoming season just to have that plan of attack, just to be able to go from the sinkerball guy to having that power stuff, kind of blending both together," Kuhl said. "Having that, the knowledge and all the experience I gained last year, it's just huge."

Trevor Williams gave up a run on two hits and a walk with two strikeouts while recording two outs in his first outing of the spring. A handful of long at-bats pushed Williams to his prescribed pitch count before the end of the inning.

"He threw pitches. He didn't miss. The balls were around the plate," Hurdle said. "He threw all his pitches. From my standpoint, it was good to see him on the mound. ... I know he'll be better next time out."

Up next
Listen on Gameday Audio as the Pirates return to LECOM Park on Thursday to take on the Blue Jays at 1:05 p.m. ET. Right-hander Nick Kingham will make his second spring start after throwing two scoreless innings on Saturday. Closer Felipe Rivero and right-handers Michael Feliz, Clay Holmes, Dovydas Neverauskas and John Stilson are also expected to pitch for Pittsburgh. Toronto will send out former Pirates lefty J.A. Happ.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Daniel Nava