With Spring Training now in full swing for the Pittsburgh Pirates, players that entered the off-season dealing with injuries are starting their way back to the field.
Earlier this week, Pittsburgh Pirates position players reported to Bradenton. With this, Spring Training 2020 is now in full swing for the Pirates.
Part of Spring Training is injured players working their way back from injury. For the Pirates, this includes a large contingency of players. One of these players is outfielder Jason Martin.
Last September, Martin suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery. When the surgery occurred there was some concern that Martin may miss Opening Day. However, it was reported earlier in the off-season that he will be ready for Opening Day.
On Thursday, Martin was a full participant in baseball activities. This included sliding for the first time since suffering his injury. “It was really cool to be able to go out and do that. Luckily with this whole rehab process, I haven’t had many setbacks,” Martin told reporters on Thursday. While Martin’s odds of making the Pirate Opening Day roster are slim, it is still good to have him back healthy and ready to go as a depth option at the start of the season.
Infielder Erik Gonzalez, who underwent foot surgery in November, was also a full participant. He is working with no restrictions, and all signs point toward Gonzalez being an utility man for the Pirates come Opening Day.
Taillon will miss all of 2020 due to his second Tommy John Surgery. Prior to going under the knife last summer, Taillon was on his way to becoming one of the top starting pitchers in the National League. He remains on track to be ready for 2021 after throwing from 90 feet on Thursday.
Kuhl missed all of 2019 due to Tommy John Surgery and Burdi missed most of the season due to a nerve issue. However, both appear healthy and ready to go. Both also threw a bullpen session with no issues on Thursday.
Kuhl will compete for a spot in the Pirate starting rotation, and due to his potential is the man who should get the final spot in the starting rotation. Although, veteran Derek Holland, as well as Steven Brault will make Kuhl earn that spot.
If Kuhl is not in the rotation he could get a spot in the Pirate bullpen, or he could work as a starting pitcher at Triple-A Indianapolis. As for Burdi, he must spend more than the first month of the season on the Pirate 26-man roster due to still having Rule 5 status. Combine this with Burdi’s electric stuff and it would be shocker if he is not in the Pirate Opening Day bullpen.
While not injury related, likely Opening Day starting pitcher Chris Archer threw a live bullpen session. Bullpen candidates Richard Rodriguez, Dovydas Neverauskas, Clay Holmes, Sam Howard, Tom Koehler, Robbie Erlin, Blake Weiman, and Hector Noesi all did as well.