With infielders Michael Chavis and Ke’Bryan Hayes sidelined with injuries, and with the recent release of outfielder Gregory Polanco, the Pittsburgh Pirates have three open spots to fill on their active roster prior to the start of their roadtrip in Chicago. To fill those gaps, the Bucs are rumored to bring up three players from Triple-A Indianapolis.
Earlier this morning, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweeted that infielders Phillip Evans and Hoy Jun Park are slated to return to the Pirates before Tuesday’s series opener against the Chicago White Sox.
Per source: Phillip Evans and Hoy Park are coming up, will join the team in Chicago. Can’t imagine that means good injury news for Michael Chavis or Ke’Bryan Hayes.— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) August 31, 2021
Evans, who appeared in 72 games with the Pirates this season, was optioned to Indianapolis earlier this month after posting abysmal performances both offensively and defensively. Hitting-wise, Evans posted a .208/.314/.308 line and a -0.3 WAR, and defensively, he committed seven errors, with four coming from the outfield.
He turned his misfortunes around offensively during his first few games in Triple-A, going 6-for-17 (.352) and posting a five-game hitting streak. Evans cooled off shortly after that, however, going 9-for-45 (.200) since Aug. 15.
Evans’ return is almost guaranteed after he posted on his Instagram story that he was in Chicago.
Hey! Look where Phil Evans is. pic.twitter.com/6PAiygWak9— Jake Crouse (@JakeCrouseMLB) August 31, 2021
Park, who came over in the Clay Holmes trade with the New York Yankees prior to the trade deadline, struggled at the plate in his first 18 games with the Pirates, striking out 18 times and collecting only 12 hits. He was optioned to Indianapolis on Aug. 23 in favor of Michael Chavis.
His offensive woes continued in Triple-A as he would collect just three hits with seven strikeouts in 22 at-bats with the Indians.
Mackey also tweeted yesterday that the Pirates are rumored to select the contract of right-handed pitcher Shelby Miller, who signed with the Pirates on a minor league deal earlier this season.
Per source, Pirates calling up RHP Shelby Miller from Class AAA Indianapolis. Hasn’t allowed a run in 8.1 IP (6 relief appearances) this month while recording an .071 BA against and 0.36 WHIP.— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) August 30, 2021
Miller, 30, missed the shortened 2020 season after opting out due to the COVID-19 pandemic and signed with the Chicago Cubs prior to the start of the 2021 season, where he gave up seven earned runs in two innings pitched. After the Cubs released him on May 31, the Pirates signed him to a minor-league contract on July 1.
After a rocky start with the Indians, the former National League All-Star turned it around in the month of August by not allowing a run in 8.1 innings pitched. In addition, he held hitters to a .071 batting average and posted a 0.36 WHIP - his career-best in the minors.
Miller was mainly used for long-relief scenarios in Triple-A, which is something the Pirates could use if they continue to preserve the arms of young starters or returning players, like Steven Brault, for the remainder of the season.
If Miller succeeds during his return to the majors, he could either be used as a long-relief piece for the Pirates down the road or as a potential trade chip for next year.
Oh, and we also predicted Miller’s promotion on the latest episode of Talk the Plank (36:54).