Ahead of Thursday’s series opener against the Giants, Phillip Evans was placed on the 10-day IL due to a left hamstring strain, joining Colin Moran (left groin strain), whom he had replaced at first base. Though Erik González had some first-base reps in Wednesday’s 5-1 loss to the Reds, manager Derek Shelton made a call to 2016 first-round pick Will Craig, who is set to join the big league roster for the second time in his career.
Craig’s bat has been hot in his last two games with Triple-A Indianapolis -- he went 5-for-6 at the plate with three homers in the two games. Though he primarily plays first base, Shelton likes that he has “a toolbox of gloves.”
“He’ll play first base, but the fact that he can go to third and go play in the outfield, I think that is important,” said Shelton. “He's been swinging [the bat] well in Indy. Right now, we're in a situation where we can use guys swinging the bat well.”
The Pirates’ skipper is reevaluating his roster day by day after numerous injuries continue to weigh on the team. Players are coming on and off the active roster, and some (including RHP Sean Poppen) have been completely taken off the 40-man roster to make room. This constant flux is taxing on a team that is desperately trying to put together a string of wins.
“We've talked about it ad nauseam, giving people opportunities,” said Shelton. “Right now, Craig is the person that's getting an opportunity. Phil Evans was getting an opportunity. So, we just kind of build off those opportunities and go with what we got.”
Craig made the most of his opportunity on Thursday, belting his first Major League home run in the 8th inning off of reliever Camilo Doval. It was the only run for the Pirates in a 3-1 loss to San Francisco.
Speaking of opportunities ...
The Pirates’ No. 12 prospect, Miguel Yajure, is at PNC Park. Shelton hinted that more roster moves may be forthcoming to get the right-hander back to the bigs.
Yajure has a few Major League games under his belt -- three relief appearances in 2020 while pitching for the Yankees and one start last month with the Pirates.
His Major League outing was less than stellar, as he allowed four hits in 4 1/3 innings pitched, but his Minor League start with Triple-A Indianapolis shows promise. In his first Triple-A start this season, Yajure went six innings, struck out six and allowed four hits. His season ERA sits at 1.50.
Speaking of prospects and injuries ...
Double-A Altoona moved RHP Cody Bolton from the 7-day IL to the 60-day IL on Thursday. Bolton, the Pirates’ No. 10 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, will not return to baseball activity for four to six months due to a knee injury sustained in a recent workout.
He underwent medial meniscal repair surgery earlier this week. The 2017 sixth-round Draft pick for the Pirates had yet to make an appearance for the Curve this season.