The Pittsburgh Pirates have placed infielder Kevin Newman on the 10-day injured list after being hit by a pitch in last night’s ballgame. Jason Martin has been recalled to take his roster spot, the team announced.
Unfortunately, any injury at this point of the season is likely to be a season-ender. Newman suffered a contusion to the peroneal nerve of his left knee, per the team. The 27-year-old has split his time between both middle infield spots while struggling to make much progress at the dish. The righty owns a .224/.281/.276 triple slash across 172 plate appearances. Registering just a 54 wRC+ certainly classifies as a disappointment after hitting the 110 wRC+ mark last season while slashing .308/.353/.446 with 12 home runs. Newman is making hard contact a little more often than last season, though barrelling just one ball on the year. A year-over-year drop in batting average on balls in play from .333 to .250 certainly makes a difference, as does a diminished power output (ISO down from .138 to .051).
Martin won’t take over directly for Newman, but he could see time in left field as Adam Frazier moves into the infield. Jose Osuna and JT Riddle could also come off the bench to take more regular at-bats.
The 25-year-old Martin is 0 for 9 with a pair of walks over a few starts in centerfield this season. Martin came to the Pirates as part of the return for Gerrit Cole back in 2018, but he has yet to carve out a regular spot in the Pirates’ outfield rotation. He spent all of 2019 in Triple-A, but a .259/.312/.419 line wasn’t enough to secure regular playing time in a shortened 2020 season.