Moran, Newman exit with injuries vs. Brewers

August 24th, 2020

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates extended their first winning streak of the season to three games by beating the Brewers, 5-4, on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park. But they may have lost two everyday position players in the process, as and exited the series finale due to injuries.

After being involved in a collision with Brewers leadoff hitter Avisaíl García at first base in the first inning, Moran was forced to exit the game in the third inning. He was being evaluated for concussion symptoms, the Pirates announced.

Newman exited the game after striking out swinging in the third inning. The Pirates said he was removed due to right lower-abdominal muscle discomfort, and manager Derek Shelton said after the game that Newman was day to day.

When Moran exited, the Pirates moved José Osuna from right field to first base and brought in Cole Tucker to play right. When Newman left, Pittsburgh shifted Erik González from third base to shortstop and put JT Riddle at third base, batting third.

The Pirates are off Monday, so they’ll have time to monitor both players’ health. But good health and plenty of depth will be necessary over the next two weeks, as they are scheduled to play 15 games in the next 13 days.

If either Moran or Newman is sidelined for any significant length of time, the Pirates’ best infield option at their alternate training site would be third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, their No. 2 prospect. The versatility of González would allow them to slot in Hayes at third with González at shortstop, if Newman is out for an extended period.

But the Pirates have been cautious about promoting Hayes too fast after he missed all of Summer Camp following a positive test for COVID-19. Hayes is working out and playing camp games at Peoples Natural Gas Field in Altoona, Pa., and he is expected to make his Major League debut at some point this season as the Pirates continue to focus on developing their young core.

The only other potentially Major League-ready infielder in Altoona is Will Craig, who is primarily a first baseman. The Pirates have mostly used Moran as a first baseman and designated hitter this season, having him alternate DH days with Josh Bell and Gregory Polanco.

Injuries have plagued Pittsburgh all year, primarily on the pitching front. The Pirates currently have 12 players on the injured list, and closer Keone Kela is day to day due to right forearm tightness.