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Pirates lose Steven Brault for at least a month, maybe more

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It’s a big blow before the season starts

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve been talking a bit this week about some optimism for the pitching rotation for the Pittsburgh Pirates, especially with Chase De Jong surprising some people with a very strong spring, but that optimism just took a big hit, as the Buccos announced that starting pitcher Steven Brault, one of the club’s top lefties, is being shut down for at least a month due to what’s being deemed a “moderate lat strain.”

However, the one-month timetable is the most optimistic estimate, as according to Pirates top med Tom Tomczyk, Brault could be out between two and three months of time, depending how his rehabilitation goes.

How the Buccos handle this long-term remains to be seen, though Brault was scheduled to pitch in today’s game versus the Atlanta Braves, and he was instead replaced by JT Brubaker, who gave up a solo homer in the first inning at the time of this writing.

Brault was looking to take a huge leap this season after finishing last year extremely strong, tossing a complete game against the St. Louis Cardinals in September and being named the team’s Steve Blass Award winner, but that plan has obviously hit a pretty big hiccup, at least for now.

The 28-year-old Brault has a career 12-15 record with a 4.68 ERA and WHIP of 1.517 — hardly eye-popping numbers — but he finished last season with a career-best 3.38 ERA and also a career-best WHIP of 1.195 and looked like he was about to come into his own.

Those hopes will have to wait for now, and hopefully the injury doesn’t ruin his shot this year in the long run. That’s a tricky injury for a pitcher, and it’d be shame — but oh, so Pittsburgh Pirates — for Brault to lose it right when it looked like he was going to put it all together.

Keep your fingers crossed for Brault, Bucs fans. Get well soon, Steven!