PITTSBURGH -- Ke'Bryan Hayes’ season is over due to a bout of left wrist soreness, but the Pirates are optimistic that the soreness will not linger this time, as it did earlier in the season.
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday prior to Hayes being placed on the IL, director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said Hayes informed the medical team within the prior 24 hours that he was dealing with some issues in his left wrist, but he wanted to play through it.
It’s understandable that the Pirates chose to send Hayes to the IL. He missed nearly the first two full months of the season with left wrist/hand discomfort he sustained on a foul swing in the Pirates’ opening series in Chicago, and the inflammation reappeared while he attempted to work his way back.
“It’s a different location on his wrist. It’s a different sensation,” Tomczyk said. “In April, he was dealing more with pain and true discomfort. Here, this is more general wrist soreness. We’re working through what his availability is both short and long term.”
Tomczyk said the soreness Hayes is feeling at the moment is not related to any bone or tendon, which he called “encouraging” news.
Hayes has had somewhat of a disappointing year offensively as he’s worked around injuries, including a self-induced hand injury in August caused by slamming his helmet down in frustration. The third baseman, who is sure to be in the Gold Glove conversation, posted a .257 average with a .689 OPS in 96 games.
For now, the focus is to make sure Hayes has as normal an offseason as possible, and that he can get into his progression in the best health possible.
“As an organization, we want to put Key in the best position in the short and long term,” Tomczyk said.
Best in class
The Pittsburgh chapter of the BBWAA named the Pirates’ award winners for the 2021 season on Wednesday.
Reynolds, who was selected to his first All-Star Game this season, entered Wednesday with a team-leading .893 OPS and 24 homers. He made the transition from left field to center field at PNC Park this season, and while his overall defensive numbers are toward the middle of the pack, he is tied for fourth among MLB center fielders with 10 outs above average.
Reynolds has also shown the kind of hustle and heart that the Pirates can point out to their young players. Manager Derek Shelton mentioned the way Reynolds stretched a single into a double late in Monday’s 13-1 loss to the Reds as an example of something he shared with the team and Reynolds himself.
“The thing that stands out to me is how hard Bryan Reynolds plays on a nightly basis and as much as he plays,” Shelton said. “We have six games left or seven games left [on Monday], and he’s doing that? That speaks to what we want to stand for.”
Bednar has been a feel-good story for Pittsburgh all season long. The right-handed reliever, who posted a 2.11 ERA entering Wednesday while becoming the go-to high-leverage guy in all but name, is a native of the area, and he’s been dominant in his hometown.
“It still brings a smile to my face, walking from the garage to the field to the dugout,” Bednar said. “Every day I’ll just kind of look back at the skyline and just kind of smile like, ‘Man, this is awesome.’”
Stallings is now a two-time winner of the Chuck Tanner Award. The Pirates’ primary catcher, who is also the team’s nominee for the 2021 Roberto Clemente Award, has regularly stepped up to the mic during tough times in a season that is bordering on 100 losses for the team.