The Pirates are placing rookie third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes on the 10-day injured list due to left wrist inflammation, Rob Biertempfel of the Athletic and Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette were among those to relay. Infielder Wilmer Difo will be added to the active roster. Difo is not yet on the 40-man roster, so his contract will need to be formally selected.
Additionally, right-hander Kyle Crick has cleared COVID-19 intake protocols and returned to the team after the birth of his child, per a club announcement. Wil Crowe was optioned to the alternate training site to clear active roster space for Crick. Crick’s return filled the Pirates’ 40-man roster, so a corresponding move to clear space for Difo is forthcoming.
Hayes left yesterday’s game after injuring his wrist diving into a bag on a pickoff attempt. X-rays came back negative but an MRI revealed some inflammation. Hayes had issues squeezing his glove this morning so the Pirates elected to shut him down for the time being. There’s no indication at this point his absence is expected to last especially long.
The rebuilding Pirates have plenty of reason to play things cautiously. There’s arguably no more important player in the organization than Hayes, a top prospect who tore the cover off the ball in his brief MLB debut in 2020. Wrist injuries, in particular, can sometimes have a lingering impact on a player’s power potential, so it behooves Pittsburgh to be especially careful.
In Hayes’ absence, Erik González, Phillip Evans and Difo could pick up some extra playing time at third base. Difo was once a frequently deployed utility player for the Nationals, but struggles at the plate caused his playing time to dwindle and ultimately led Washington to cut him loose. The 29-year-old signed a minor league deal with Pittsburgh over the winter.