Prospect Soriano near return; injury updates

May 12th, 2021

PITTSBURGH -- One of the Pirates’ top prospects is nearing a return to the mound.

Pirates director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said on Wednesday that José Soriano, the club’s No. 25 prospect per MLB Pipeline, is expected to begin a rehab assignment in the next five to seven days.

“There's no magic solution. There's no magic number or games,” Tomczyk said. “We'll take that as we see how the body responds, how the stuff plays with each outing.”

Soriano, 22, was left off the Angels’ 40-man roster at the end of last season as he rehabbed from Tommy John surgery performed on Feb. 13, 2020. The Pirates selected him in the Rule 5 Draft, knowing he would miss at least the first few months of the season.

The right-hander, who flashed triple-digit velocities with his fastball before the surgery, will need to be on the Pirates’ active roster when he is eventually activated. If Soriano is not on the active roster for a minimum of 90 days, he must be placed on outright waivers, then offered back to the Angels for $50,000. If they don’t accept the trade, he can be outrighted to the Minors.

When Soriano is activated, he will become the third 2020 Rule 5 Draft acquisition on the Pirates’ active roster, in addition to right-hander Luis Oviedo and outfielder Ka’ai Tom.

“We've caught the tail end of this, a very long, arduous journey coming back from UCL reconstruction,” Tomcyzk said.

Worth noting
• First baseman Colin Moran might have avoided a long trip to the injured list after straining his left groin muscle on defense in Sunday’s game against the Cubs. Moran resumed “light baseball activities” on Wednesday, according to Tomczyk.

“Things are progressing really nicely so far for Colin,” Tomczyk said, “and [we are] very optimistic about a return sooner than later.”

• Third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes (left wrist strain) has continued to increase his volume of swings in the batting cage, per Tomczyk, while also keeping his lower body in shape for when he’s ready to return to the field.

That return date would be some time in June, since Hayes was moved to the 60-day injured list after originally landing on the 10-day injured list on April 4. Tomczyk said the reclassification will not affect the progression or procedures the medical team has in place for Hayes.

“The 60-day was more of a mechanical roster move, with other things involved there,” Tomczyk said, “but Key continues to make very nice strides, and he's working his tail off.

• Right-hander Kyle Crick (right triceps strain) will pause throwing for a couple of days, but Tomczyk said he hopes the reliever will be able to resume throwing this weekend. Crick was removed after facing three batters in the ninth inning on Sunday in Chicago, which included a walk and a hit by pitch.

“The coaching staff noticed Kyle expressed some symptoms that everybody felt was in his best interest to take a little pause from throwing and make sure a little thing didn’t turn into a big thing,” Tomczyk said.

• Right-hander Chad Kuhl (right shoulder discomfort) will throw another live bullpen session and/or simulated game in the coming days as he tries to return to the rotation. Kuhl was placed on the 10-day injured list on April 22.

• Left-hander Steven Brault (left lat strain) is expected to begin playing catch in the coming days in Bradenton, Fla., where he’s been since going on the 60-day injured list during Spring Training. Brault, who was one of Pittsburgh’s most effective starting pitchers last season, has been doing one-arm plyometric work in recent days.

• No. 5 prospect Liover Peguero left High-A Greensboro’s game on Sunday early with a right knee contusion, but Tomczyk said the shortstop is anticipated to be back in the lineup this week.

• Left-hander Austin Davis (left elbow sprain) has begun a rehab assignment at Low-A Bradenton.