As we get closer to actual baseball (SATURDAY SATURDAY SATURDAY), here’s what’s been going on at Pirates summer camp:
- Pitcher/possible closer Keone Kela and third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes continue to be no-shows at PNC Park, and a reason for their absence continues to be not publicly given. Right fielder Gregory Polanco has also done a mysterious two-day disappearing act, although manager Derek Shelton told the media yesterday that it was “not something I’m going to discuss.” By all accounts Polanco has been looking great, so it’s possible the Pirates are babying his shoulder a little bit. Or something else.
- While pitcher Blake Cederlind is still sidelined with COVID-19, the other confirmed positive, outfielder Socrates Brito, has joined camp and is participating in workouts.
- 2020 first round draft pick Nick Gonzales and Liover Peguero, who was part of the Starling Marte/Diamondbacks trade, will both be part of the Pirates’ 60-man player pool per general manager Ben Cherington, filling the two spots left empty by Hector Noesi’s opting out of the season and Edgar Santana’s suspension. It seems more of a developmental move for the two young infielders in the absence of a minor league season than a catapult to the big leagues.
- Cherington also stated that as far as making up the 40-man roster goes, he’s “not expecting anybody who’s not currently in Pittsburgh.” Sorry, kids, no sexy free agent signings, it seems like.
- If Kela remains a no-show, two pitchers have volunteered as closer tributes. Kyle Crick threw what Shelton termed a “four-out inning” (things like that apparently happen when you have front office guys playing the outfield). “Kyle executed the way he wanted to, so it was good to see. I liked the sharpness.” Richard Rodriguez had a considerably shorter outing—two pitches—but that doesn’t mean he’s out of the closer mix per Shelton.