The Pittsburgh Pirates season is coming to end. The two biggest questions on the health side of things are regarding Kuhl and Kang.
With the season coming up on its end, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be looking toward 2019 as they miss the playoffs for the third consecutive year. With that, the team needs to figure out what they will have as part of their roster for next year. This includes two injured players in Chad Kuhl and Jung Ho Kang.
Chad Kuhl has been out since late June with soreness in his right forearm. He was having a fairly mediocre year before exiting with the injury. The righty was had posted a 4.55 ERA while walking over three batters per nine innings pitched and only striking out eight batters per 9. Many thought it was time for the Pittsburgh Pirate to move him into the bullpen due to his lack of effectiveness.
However, that never played out because of his arm injury. What makes the arm injury even more interesting is that it ultimately could be the reason he moves to the bullpen. Even more so, with the current rotation pitching the way they have since the start of August, the team does not have any room for him in the rotation.
So when could these potential moves with Chad Kuhl happen? Well, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has an update of when Chad Kuhl will start getting back into game action. Brink reported that Kuhl had already been throwing bullpens. He went on to report what Tom Tomczyk told him in an interview:
"“We would like him to get up to game intensity, game speed, before the end of the season so he has a basic general health status on the forearm and the elbow”"
On the other side of the ball is the team’s offense. One player that many expected to see back by the end of the season was former third base starter Jung Ho Kang. Of course, Kang’s history of being absent is well recorded with his inability to get back into the United States. Finally, he did and play in 16 games in the minors this year, including nine at Triple-A. However, his time was cut short due to a wrist injury, which could explain why his production dropped off so much from High-A to Triple-A. He ended up having wrist surgery. Tom Tomczyk gave Brink an update on Kang:
"“We’d like him to get into some type of competition,” director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said. “Whether it’s here, whether it’s fall instructional league, something that he, we, can gauge his health going into the offseason.”"
The good news is the Pittsburgh Pirates will not be relying on these two players as key players entering the 2019 season. The team’s rotation is in a really good spot going into next season already. Meanwhile, Colin Moran has had a solid rookie season and the team has plenty of infield options that could supplement Moran. Still, if these two prove healthy going into next year, it will help the team figure out their offseason agenda a little better.
*Kang has a team option for next season.