Notes: Hayes doing 'better'; Shelton's gag

April 24th, 2021

The update on was brief but encouraging on Friday.

Pirates manager Derek Shelton said Hayes was evaluated on Thursday for a recurrence of inflammation in his left wrist and the short-term signs are good, though he didn’t specify specifics of any results.

“He is doing better,” Shelton said. “We’ll get a chance to look at him when we get home.”

Hayes was sent back to Pittsburgh after a round of batting work led to discomfort in his left wrist. Pirates director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said Hayes took an awkward swing like the one he did against Jake Arrieta on April 3 that led to the initial wrist inflammation. Tomczyk did not want to speculate on the exact nature of the injury before evaluations were done, but said it was in the same spot as before.

The Pirates will return to Pittsburgh on Monday, which is a scheduled off-day for the team, and will hope to have an even better understanding of how long this discomfort could affect Hayes’ return to the field. Needless to say, it’s a frustrating development, as Hayes was scheduled to play in rehab games Tuesday and Wednesday in Toledo, which were cancelled due to weather.

“Unfortunately, he did not return to competition as we hopefully projected him to be, but that's why we have these mechanisms in place,” Tomczyk said. “That's why he wasn't cleared for full baseball activities, to return to play without these necessary steps.

“That's what makes such an important part of the rehab process, such as rehab games, because what we don't want to do is put the player, put Ke'Bryan in a position in a game where that would make the magnitude even worse.”

Shelton strikes back in return
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli got the last laugh in Spring Training in the battle of antics between him and Shelton, who served on the same staff in Minnesota from 2017-19.

However, Shelton showed up to his pregame Zoom press conference in a custom shirt that read, “Hi, I’m Rocco, the best-looking manager in baseball, and I approve this message.”

The best part of the joke? Shelton said every member of his staff wore the shirt during batting practice.

“He wanted to play reindeer games at the end of Spring Training,” Shelton said of Baldelli, “thinking that he had the last laugh with the shark thing.

“We have two days left here. I’m sure I’ll get hammered the last two days, but I would say we’d all agree that this one is pretty good.”

Beyond the fun and games, Shelton also got to reconnect with one of the guys who made him into the manager he is: Paul Molitor, the Hall of Fame player who was the Twins’ manager when Shelton was hired in 2017.

Shelton and Molitor connected for a socially distanced cup of coffee this week. The Pirates’ manager acknowledged that Molitor, as well as Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine, were instrumental in his rise to be a Major League skipper by taking a chance on him as bench coach.

“I’ve thanked him over the phone numerous times about giving me an opportunity,” Shelton said, “but to be able to sit and talk to him this morning, to talk a little baseball, it was kind of cool to see.”