The latest on a few injured Pirates, courtesy of Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
- The season has gone down the drain for the Pirates, whose 56-77 record is among the worst in the majors, but they’re still hoping to see right-hander Chris Archer take the hill again this year. Archer went to the injured list a week ago on account of shoulder inflammation, though he has made good progress since then, director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk explained Wednesday. Archer still hasn’t thrown a baseball since he landed on the IL, though, so it’s hardly a foregone conclusion that he’ll return to the mound in 2019. Regardless, the Pirates seem likely to exercise Archer’s $9MM club option (in lieu of a $1.75MM buyout) once the offseason arrives. While Archer was a highly regarded starter when he joined the Pirates last summer in a major trade with the Rays, the current campaign has been an injury-limited disaster for the 30-year-old. Archer has given Pittsburgh 119 2/3 innings of 5.19 ERA/5.01 FIP ball this season.
- As with Archer, it’s uncertain whether outfielder Gregory Polanco will suit up for the Bucs again in ’19. Polanco’s shoulder has been a problem for about a year now – he underwent surgery in mid-September of 2018, sat out until late April this season and then went back to the IL in the middle of June. Although Polanco’s rehab in Bradenton, Fla., is going well at the moment, there may not be enough time left in the Double-A or Triple-A seasons for him to play with those affiliates before a potential return to the majors. Indeed, Tomcyzyk admitted that Pittsburgh’s “running up against the clock” with Polanco. The 27-year-old has been a rather valuable piece for the Pirates in the past, especially in 2018, but his shoulder troubles have helped hold him to an ineffective .242/.301/.425 line in 167 plate appearances this season. Next year will be the penultimate guaranteed season of the $35MM extension Polanco signed back in 2016. He’ll earn $8MM in 2020.
- The Pirates have shut righty Tom Koehler down for the year after he suffered a setback in his recovery from shoulder surgery. Koehler underwent the procedure last July as a member of the Dodgers, for whom he didn’t pitch at all in 2018, and has thrown just four innings at the minor league level this season. The 33-year-old signed with the Pirates on a minors pact last winter. Also a former Marlin and Blue Jay, Koehler has recorded a 4.39 ERA/4.49 FIP with 6.93 K/9 and 3.69 BB/9 in 784 1/3 frames in the majors.