The Pittsburgh Pirates Wild Pain & Gain of 2013


Neal Huntington, Pittsburgh Pirates GM and Senior Vice President, has significantly improved the Bucs Major League Baseball roster for the postseason.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are in first place.  It’s September 3rd.  When looking at the amount of injuries the Pirates have suffered in 2013 it’s amazing to even comprehend.  But we also think each injury allowed another chip to be pushed into the pile that has made the 2013 season even more special.

Take a look and let us know what you think or what we missed.

August 27: Kyle McPherson 60-Day DL Recovery from right elbow surgery

The McPherson injury really opened the door for Jeff Locke.  The southpaw took the opportunity and was named to the MLB All-Star Game.

August 19: Starling Marte 15-Day DL day-to-day right hand contusion

The injury to Marte seemed like it could doom the Bucs.  But Neal Huntington asked for the approval from the powers that be and wa-la, Marlon Byrd appears.  Byrd has got a hit in each of his starts with the Pirates.

July 28:  Travis Snider 15-Day DL Left big toe discomfort

Snider was a massive disappointment this season.  The number of opportunities he will receive going down the stretch should be very limited.

July 28:  Michael McKenry 60-Day DL Left knee surgery – out for season

Look, the Pirates special production of Michael McKenry: Driven was cool.  Really cool.  But when The Fort went down, the team called up Tony Sanchez.  It will prove valuable moving forward that Sanchez got to see some ML action.

A couple dazzling starts by Francisco Liriano later, 73 innings caught later, a .220/.267/.341 triple slash and just one stolen base on Sanchez later and it’s apparent that the kid is ready to go.  Having John Buck, who came over in the Byrd trade, to learn from in September and October will also be valuable for Sanchez and the Pirates future.

July 23:  Jason Grilli 15-Day DL Strained right forearm

Grilli’s injury, just days after landing the regional SI cov er, felt like a heartbreaker.  Not even close.  It created a void at closer that Mark Melancon has filled with a vengance.  Mark the Shark has recorded ten saves and has pitched like he should be on the cover of MLB14.  The guy has been sick and should remain the closer in 2013.  Case closed.

July 7:  Neil Walker 15-Day DL Strained right oblique

Walker’s injury had to crush him.  Since returning, Walker is doing the crushing.  While injured, Jordy Mercer kept improving defensively.  Mercer Time has emerged in 2013, taking the opportunity that was presented–it’s still hard to forget his series in New York.  Mercer now appears to be a strong option as the teams short-term answer at shortstop.

June 9:  A.J. Burnett 15-Day DL Strained right calf

The heart and soul right-hander was lost for a month.  The rough-around-the edges veteran going down would surely crush the Bucs.  Well, so said the pundits.  Not even close.

Jeanmar Gomez made a start against Seattle while Brandon Cumpton picked up three others against the Dodgers, Reds, and Phillies.  The team won only one of those games–an important win against the Reds, but the offense scuffled, scoring just four runs in the Cumpton starts against L.A. and Philadelphia.

The fact Brandon Cumpton made starts in the Bigs in 2013 still amazes me.

June 6:  Wandy Rodriguez 60-Day DL Left forearm tightness

We have no idea what’s going on with Wandy.  It’s the one injury that while providing gain to the team still hurts more than any in the starting rotation.  Almost three months later it’s just arthritis?  Huh?

But without the injury to Wandy, what would we know about Gerrit Cole?  The flame thrower has looked solid.  The FIP is 3.41, the strikeouts are still a work in progress, but personally having 85.1 innings from Cole in 2013 is a big plus moving forward.

June 6:  Jared Hughes 15-Day DL Right shoulder inflammation

It had to end sometime.  Hughes hasn’t looked the same, but stepping up for Hughes have been several pitchers with some mind-numbing numbers.  Vin Mazzaro has a 1.71 ERA (21.0ip/4er) since the All-Star break.

June 3:  Jeanmar Gomez 15-Day DL Right forearm tightness

The right hander is pitching with pain, but it hasn’t seemed to impact his fine work in 2013.  Eleven of the 16 runs Gomez has allowed in relief came in two games (seven on 8/1 vs. St. Louis and four on 8/17 vs. Arizona).  Think about that for a second.  When Gomez pitched in Spring Training, we couldn’t even watch.  How times have changed.

June 3:  Phil Irwin 60-Day DL Right arm fatigue

I’m not sure we would have known Brandon Cumpton if Irwin wouldn’t have been injured.  We are looking forward to full recoveries to both Irwin and McPherson.

May 28:  Jose Contreras 15-Day DL Lower back inflammation

Perhaps the mere appearance of his huge truck in Spring Training, allowed the Pirates bullpen to know that big money can be made by being an effective relief pitcher.

May 5:  Jose Tabata 15-Day DL Strained left oblique

Tabata going down created a void in right field.  Big time.  The void got more playing time for Garrett Jones.  Which lead to the eventual acquisition of Justin Morneau.  At least that’s what I am going with.

May 19:  Andrew McCutchen Day-to-Day Sore right knee

Yeh, that was really scary.

May 15:  John McDonald 15-Day DL Lower back discomfort

Slick fielding infielder gets phantom injury.

May 1:  James McDonald 60-Day DL Right shoulder discomfort

Surely JMac will figure it out.  Remember how sick he was last season?

April 27:  Neil Walker 15-Day DL Right index finger laceration

What has gone unnoticed in 2013, is how well Walker is playing defense.  The Pittsburgh kid has a 48-game errorless streak (the last error he made was on June 24) But most everyone focuses on the fact that each of his 35 extra base hits have come vs. right handers.

April 27:  Travis Snider Day-to-Day Left side discomfort

We should have seen the right-field void coming.

April 9:  Wandy Rodriguez Day-to-Day Left game – left leg strain

Ugh.  Remember how hard he tried not to come out of this game.  The guy looked like an aerobics instructor.

March 26:  Brandon Inge 15-Day DL Right scapula

Remember how long he was on the roster this year?

March 22:  Charlie Morton 60-Day DL Recovery from right elbow surgery

How well is ElectricStuff pitching now?  He could be a candidate for Comeback Pitcher of the Year if Liriano wasn’t pitching so well.  More importantly, Mortondini photoshops are on the comeback.

March 22:  Jeff Karstens 60-Day DL Right shoulder inflammation

The zombie looks good on the Bucs bench though.

March 22:  Francisco Liriano 15-Day DL Fractured right forearm

What an incredible signing.

March 20:  Chase d’Arnaud 60-Day DL Left thumb surgery

Jordy Mercer grabbed this opportunity and is now hitting .292 since the All-Star Break despite having just three knocks in his past twenty at-bats.  MercerTime has started 30 of the teams 44 games sine the break and on the season has started at short 51 times and 20 times at second.

Before the year the Pirates didn’t really have an answer at shortstop.  Clint Barmes played so poorly offensively that Mercer got a shot.

Just like the 2013 Buccos, he’s made the most of the opportunity.   .

SI injury report

The Pittsburgh Pirates are all in for 2013

Go Bucs.