Pirates catcher Jacob Stallings left this afternoon’s game against the Giants in the seventh inning after being struck by a Buster Posey foul tip. The Pirates announced he’s dealing with a left quad contusion (via Mike Persak of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). He was replaced by Michael Pérez. Stallings has rather quietly gotten off to a very good start to the season, hitting .257/.370/.446 over his first 119 plate appearances. Stallings and Pérez are the only backstops on Pittsburgh’s 40-man, so the team would need to make a roster move if the 31-year-old is forced to miss time. The Pirates have a pair of former big leaguers, Andrew Susac and Joe Hudson, splitting time at the position with Triple-A Indianapolis.
More out of Pittsburgh:
- The organization is hopeful third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes will be ready to embark on a minor league rehab assignment within the next several days, general manager Ben Cherington said on 93.7 FM The Fan (h/t to Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). One of the sport’s top prospects and a popular preseason pick to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award, Hayes has been limited to seven plate appearances this season by a wrist injury. He isn’t eligible to return from the 60-day IL until June 3. The 24-year-old got off to an incredible start to his big league career last season, hitting .376/.442/.682 over his first 95 plate appearances.
- Cherington also noted that there’s some hope each of Colin Moran and Phillip Evans can return from the injured list without needing to embark on rehab assignments (via Gorman). Moran went down last week with a left groin injury, halting a strong .297/.352/.468 start to the year. Evans began the season blistering hot but quickly cooled off. He went on the shelf earlier this week with a hamstring strain.
- Corner outfielder Gregory Polanco and starter Mitch Keller will continue to get opportunities despite disappointing starts to the season, writes Rob Biertempfel of the Athletic. Coming off back-to-back down years, Polanco has managed just a .206/.284/.351 line over 109 plate appearances to start 2021. Those struggles make it highly unlikely the Pirates will wind up exercising their $12.5MM option on Polanco for next season, and it’s difficult to imagine the rebuilding club will find much of a market for him at the trade deadline. Nevertheless, Cherington pointed to Polanco’s somewhat promising batted ball metrics (including an 80th percentile hard hit rate) as reason for continuing to hope for a bounce back. Keller has been up and down over his first three MLB seasons, but it’s not particularly surprising the Pirates plan to give the 25-year-old time to work through his struggles given his prospect pedigree and mid-90’s velocity.