The Pirates made a number of moves before tonight’s game in Arizona. Outfielder Andrew McCutchen and third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes were both placed on the 10-day injured list. To take the active roster spots, Pittsburgh reinstated first baseman Ji Man Choi from the 60-day IL and recalled right-hander Cody Bolton. In order to open a spot on the 40-man roster, Pittsburgh designated reliever Rob Zastryzny for assignment after activating him from his own IL stint.
McCutchen’s placement is retroactive to July 6 and on account of right elbow inflammation. He’d been nagged by elbow soreness dating back a few weeks, and the club apparently decided to give him some time to rest it completely. Next week’s All-Star Break means McCutchen could miss as few as five games if he’s able to return when first eligible.
Signed to a one-year deal over the winter, the former MVP has had an excellent return season in Pittsburgh. He’s hitting .268/.383/.425 with 10 homers across 316 trips to the plate. He’s walking at an elite 15.5% clip while striking out only 20.3% of the time.
Hayes is dealing with lower back inflammation. The same issue sent him to the IL on June 28. He was reinstated last night but evidently isn’t fully healthy after all. The Pirates used Jared Triolo as their primary third baseman while Hayes was out, so the rookie infielder figures to draw back into the starting lineup.
Choi will try to get his first Pittsburgh campaign rolling heading into the Break. Acquired from the Rays over the offseason, the lefty-hitting first baseman only appeared in nine games before a strained Achilles tendon in his left foot put him on the shelf. Choi was ice cold in the season’s first couple weeks but reached base at a quality .341 clip for Tampa Bay last year. With Carlos Santana at first base, Choi draws into the starting lineup tonight at designated hitter. He’ll hit fifth against Arizona ace Zac Gallen.
With Choi coming back from the 60-day IL, Pittsburgh needed to clear a 40-man spot. That’ll be at Zastryzny’s expense. The 31-year-old lefty cracked the Opening Day roster after an offseason minor league deal. He made 18 appearances, working to a 5.29 ERA through 17 frames. Zastryzny had as many walks as strikeouts (13 apiece) and twice landed on the IL.
The more recent of those stints came three weeks ago, when forearm inflammation put him on the shelf. Zastryzny is apparently now healthy, but the Bucs elected not to carry him on the roster. He’s out of minor league option years, so Pittsburgh needed to either plug him back into the MLB bullpen or take him off the 40-man.
Within the next week, Pittsburgh will trade him or put him on waivers. Zastryzny has cleared outright waivers in the past, so he’d have the ability to test free agency if he goes unclaimed again.