The Pirates are placing first baseman Colin Moran on the 10-day injured list with a left groin injury, Rob Biertempfel of the Athletic was among those to relay. The club has selected the contract of outfielder Troy Stokes Jr. in a corresponding move. To create 40-man roster space for Stokes, Pittsburgh transferred third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes to the 60-day injured list.
Moran left yesterday afternoon’s game against the Cubs after suffering the injury trying to dive to the first base bag. His absence leaves the Pirates without one of their most productive hitters in the season’s early going. The 28-year-old is hitting .297/.352/.468 with four home runs over his first 122 plate appearances. He was a productive offensive player last year as well, when he slashed .247/.325/.472 with ten homers in 200 plate appearances.
As an arbitration-eligible player on a rebuilding Pirates’ squad, Moran could find himself on the trade market this summer. He has been more patient at the plate this year and is hitting far fewer ground balls, which could pique the interest of contending teams. Moran certainly won’t sustain a .392 batting average on balls in play, and he’s mostly been limited to first base over the past two years after breaking in as a third baseman. Still, it’s easy to see clubs having interest in a more patient and productive lefty power bat come July. The Pirates didn’t provide a timetable for Moran’s return, but there’s no indication at this point he’s in danger of an extended absence that could impact his trade value.
He’ll be replaced on the active roster by Stokes, whom the Pirates outrighted over the winter. The 25-year-old has bounced from the Brewers to the Tigers to the Pittsburgh organizations in recent seasons. He has a .233/.340/.390 mark in 391 career Triple-A plate appearances and will be making his major league debut if/when he gets into a game. Stokes likely would’ve played in the majors with Detroit last season, but an ill-timed hand fracture cost him the year.
Hayes’ transfer to the 60-day IL may raise some eyebrows, but the procedural move isn’t cause for alarm. The 60-day IL placement means Hayes must miss at least 60 days from the time of his initial IL placement (April 4), not today’s transfer. Manager Derek Shelton stressed there’s been no change in Hayes’ prognosis. The 24-year-old was known to have suffered a setback in his recovery from a wrist injury last month and has made incremental progress in the weeks since, but he was apparently not in position to return anytime before early June.