The Pittsburgh Pirates have an open competition for their fifth starter spot in their rotation. However, one candidate may be dealing with an injury.
During this past offseason, the Pittsburgh Pirates trade pitcher Ivan Nova to the Chicago White Sox. Nova was projected to be the Bucs’ fifth starter for the 2019 season before being dealt away. The main reason being that the Nova was due a salary of $9 million and entering the final year of his contract.
So to replace Nova, the team had three logical candidates entering spring training. The two in-house options are Nick Kingham and Steven Brault. The free agent the team brought in is right-handed pitcher Jordan Lyles. Lyles spent the 2018 season starting and relieving between the San Diego Padres and the Milwaukee Brewers.
As of now, Lyles looks like the lead horse for the Pittsburgh Pirates fifth rotation spot. Both Nick Kingham and Steven Brault have struggled this spring, bot having ERA’s north of 6.00. Lyles has not been much better, but being a veteran and one of the team’s few offseason acquisitions, he seems like a more logical candidate to start the year.
So far this spring Lyles has pitched in 11 innings and has made four appearances, giving up seven runs, six of which have been earned, on 13 hits, giving him a 4.91 ERA. These are not very inspiring results so far for the Bucs likely fifth starter.
Yesterday, Lyles took on the Minnesota Twin after taking over for starter Jameson Taillon. The new Bucco was expected to throw at least three innings. Instead, he ended up throwing just two innings and gave up one run on a home run. He struck out two batters while walking one and giving up two hits. So why was his appearance cut short?
Apparently, Jordan Lyles was dealing with some tightness in his side. This obviously is very worrisome being the lead candidate for the fifth spot. However, it sounds like it should not be that big of an issue going forward. Here is an update from Adam Berry of MLB.com on Lyles:
"Jordan Lyles only pitched two innings today due to cramping in his right side. He said it was precautionary, “nothing serious” and “nothing to worry about.”"
It sounds like Lyles will be okay, but this is definitely something to monitor going forward. Sometimes things can linger and end up turning into a more severe injury than originally expected (like a blister on a finger). It will be interesting to see how quickly he gets back out on the mound and if he has the same issue.