Erik Gonzalez Set To Begin Rehab Assignment

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /
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An injured Pittsburgh Pirates infielder will begin a rehab assignment on Friday night

On April 19th, Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Erik Gonzalez and center fielder Starling Marte collided in shallow center field. On the play, both players were injured. While Marte spent just 10 days on the injured list, Gonzalez has been on the IL for over two months with a broken clavicle bone.

Gonzalez is now set to return to game action. According to Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic, on Friday night, the infielder will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis.

It will be interesting to see how things shake out with Gonzalez both during his rehab assignment and after he returns. With Indianapolis, odds are, Gonzalez will play all over the field. While Gonzalez started the season as the Pirates starting shortstop, it will be tough for him to find starts at shortstop for the Indians.

With Cole Tucker entrenched as the starting shortstop at Triple-A and the Pirates wanting him to get every day at bats and reps, it’s unlikely that Gonzalez plays a lot of shortstop at Triple-A. Gonzalez has played every position except center field and catcher at the MLB level, so playing all over the field should be nothing new to him.

Additionally, when he rejoins the Pirates Gonzalez will likely be in a utility role. Prior to getting injured Gonzalez was slashing just .216/.298/.294 with a wRC+ of 47. He was also struggling defensively at shortstop. Combine this with the emergence of Kevin Newman, and his starting job at shortstop is a thing of the past.

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Another factor in Gonzalez’s rehab assignment could be any potential roster moves from the Pirates this weekend. After optioning Jason Martin for Dario Agrazal on Wednesday, and then Agrazal for Dovydas Neverauskas on Thursday, the Pirates currently have eight relievers and jsut four bench bats on the roster. With the team returning to National League play and no longer having the designated hitter at their exposure, it makes having a full five man bench more important. If an infielder such as Tucker or Kevin Kramer return to the MLB club this weekend, that could open up a spot on the Indy infield for Gonzalez.

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