The Pirates will activate outfielder Corey Dickerson and infielder Jung Ho Kang for tomorrow’s game, skipper Clint Hurdle told reporters including MLB.com’s Adam Berry (via Twitter). Corresponding roster moves aren’t yet known.
Dickerson’s shoulder injury ended up costing him about two months of action. He’ll need a 40-man roster spot, since he had been moved to the 60-day IL. Kang was out for three weeks with a left side strain.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Bucs handle their roster now that they’re approaching full health. There’ll really be an abundance of corner outfielders once Lonnie Chisenhall is ready, but even Dickerson creates a bit of a crowd.
Jose Osuna could be the odd man out, though he has hit well in brief action. That would leave the club with two switch-hitting options (Melky Cabrera, Bryan Reynolds) and a pair of lefty bats (Dickerson, Gregory Polanco) in the corner mix. That’s arguably a somewhat suboptimal mix, particularly since it means carrying five players limited to outfield or pinch-hitting duties.
Hurdle will also face some tough playing time decisions. The resurgent Cabrera and newcomer Reynolds are both hitting quite well. Dickerson and Polanco are both well-established and well-compensated players. There has already been some chatter among Pirates scribes that the club could ponder trading from its outfield stock to boost a sagging pitching staff, though it remains unclear whether and when that strategy will be pursued.
It’s a bit easier to guess at the decision in the infield. Youngster Cole Tucker has not yet found sustained success at the plate and seems likely to be dispatched back to Triple-A, though that’ll leave the club with only two true middle infielders (Kevin Newman and Adam Frazier). Perhaps the Pirates will send down a pitcher and run with a seven-man bullpen for at least a stretch, but that seems unlikely to be a long-term strategy for a team that needs innings.
Whatever the move, Kang is hardly assured of a lengthy stint back on the MLB roster. He’ll need to improve upon a terrible start to the season or be sent packing.
It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out, both now and in the near future. We know that GM Neal Huntington is looking for ways to shore up the pitching staff. The Bucs could be a fun team to watch with seven weeks to go before the trade deadline and a four-game deficit in the division.