After missing the team’s fist 16 games of the season after testing positive for the coronavirus, reliever Keone Kela is back for the Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates are getting a much needed bullpen reinforcement. Prior to Thursday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds, the team activated closer Keone Kela from the injured list. Due to testing positive for the coronavirus, Kela had missed the team’s first 16 games of the season. He also returns to face a Reds team that he has a long history with.
Kela will provide a much needed shot in the arm for an injury riddled bullpen of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Prior to the season Kela was slated to be the team’s closer, so fans should expect to see him get the ball in the 9th inning moving forward.
Getting Kela back in the fold will also allow him to begin to build up his trade value. A free agent to be, the Pittsburgh Pirates undoubtedly would have looked to trade Kela prior to July 31st in a normal season.
If Kela looks healthy with good velocity on the mound, the Pirates will likely look to trade Kela before the August 31st trade deadline. While it would be a small sample size, he has a track record that teams in need of bullpen help would be willing to trade for. Kela owns a career 3.23 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 9.4% walk rate, and a 30.1% strikeout rate in 214.1 innings pitched with the Pirates and Texas Rangers.
To make room for Kela on the 40-man roster, the Pirates designated left-handed pitcher Miguel Del Pozo for assignment. Del Pozo pitched in 3.2 innings for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season across five appearances out of the bullpen. He allowed seven hits, walked eight batters and struck out just two. Del Pozo posted a 17.18 ERA with the Pirates.