TODAY: Alford underwent elbow surgery yesterday, the Pirates announced, and the outfielder “is projected to participate in full baseball activities in spring training 2021.”
SEPTEMBER 6: Alford’s season is indeed over, as the Pirates announced they have placed him on the 45-day injured list. Outfielder Jason Martin is up from the alternate training site to replace him on the active roster.
SEPTEMBER 5: Pirates outfielder Anthony Alford fractured his right elbow during tonight’s game, the team announced. Alford suffered the injury during the third inning after crashing into the wall in pursuit of a Tucker Barnhart home run ball.
While the severity of the injury has yet to be revealed, it certainly would seem that Alford’s 2020 season has come to an end. The 26-year-old only recently joined the Pirates after being claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays, with Saturday’s contest with the Reds marking Alford’s fifth game in the black and gold. The early returns from the change of scenery were promising, as Alford had three hits (including a home run) and a walk over his first 13 plate appearances as a Pirate.
The elbow fracture is the latest in a series of injuries that have hampered Alford’s career and kept him from establishing himself as a Major League regular. A highly-regarded prospect while in the Jays’ farm system, Alford hit a modest .265/.358/.393 over 2098 career plate appearances in the minors, then a .454 OPS over 75 PA for Toronto at the big league level from 2017-20. The Blue Jays designated Alford for assignment in August, and Pittsburgh made the claim to give Alford a look as the Bucs continue to build for the future.