Pittsburgh Pirates: Ke’Bryan Hayes Trending Toward Opening Day Start

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 12: Ke'Bryan Hayes #13 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action against the Washington Nationals during the game at PNC Park on September 12, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 12: Ke'Bryan Hayes #13 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action against the Washington Nationals during the game at PNC Park on September 12, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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After rolling his ankle and being out of action for a week it appears third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes should be ready for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Opening Day

One thing that every Major League Baseball team holds their breath over in spring training is injuries. Luckily for the Pittsburgh Pirates they have been rather injury free this spring with the only major injury issues being ones that already existed prior to the spring.

Mitch Keller took a line drive off the leg in a start early in the spring and exited the game due to precautions, but turned out to be just fine. Miguel Yajure, Max Kranick and Luis Oviedo all have not pitched this spring, but that has not come as a surprise as all three entered the spring at less than 100%.

One player the Pittsburgh Pirates have had to sweat it out a bit on, however, has been third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes. Last Saturday morning while doing infield work at LECOM Park Hayes rolled his ankle and he has not appeared in a game since then.

This started to create some worry and fear that he may not be ready for Opening Day. When the team traded for Josh VanMeter this past Thursday, some people, myself included, thought this may be tied into their potential concerns over Hayes not being ready for Opening Day.

Well, it appears that will not be the case. Hayes told reporters on Friday that he should be ready to go for Opening Day. In fact he added that if this was the regular season he likely would have tried to play through his ankle issue.

This comes as good news for the Pirates. Hayes is key building block moving forward for the franchise and they need him to put together a healthy season in 2022 while also taking a step forward as a hitter. If he can do this to go with his elite defense at third base, then the Pirates will have a consistent 4+ WAR player on their hands in Hayes.

Hayes being ready for Opening Day will also impact the make up of the Pirate roster. Our most recent Opening Day roster projection has Diego Castillo, Michael Chavis, and VanMeter cracking the roster. If Hayes were to start the year on the injured list this could open the door for someone such as Hoy Park or Bligh Madris.

Next. 2022 Rum Bunter Staff Predictions: Noah Wright. dark

First pitch of Thursday afternoon is set for 4:15 PM ET from Busch Stadium in St. Louis. While Derek Shelton has said he will not announce an Opening Day starter odds are José Quintana will get the ball for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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