Connor Joe Will Likely Start the 2015 Season in Extended Spring Training

Connor Joe missed all of the 2014 season with a back injury, throwing out his back during his first week with Jamestown, before he was able to play a game. The Pirates’ first round competitive balance pick wasn’t able to return during instructs, and didn’t get on the field until Spring Training rolled around. Even now, he has been limited on what he can do. Those limitations will most likely prevent him from starting the season in West Virginia.

“We’re probably going to start him [in extended Spring Training]¬†anyways, and build up some volume, just because he doesn’t have the volume that he needs to get out there any play,” Pirates’ Farm Director Larry Broadway said. “He’s still not 100% as far as you’re free to go through the entire workday. So we’ve built up the workday volume, and we’re going to take some time building him up through games.”

Joe’s injury lingered last year, and basically led to eight months without any activity on a ball field. In a way, this Spring Training has been his rehab work, and the Pirates and focusing on bringing him back at a conservative pace.

“We’re going to take it slow. No need to break it out in the first year,” Broadway said.

Joe has been taking grounders at first and third base, and will likely split time between those two positions, with the bulk of the work coming at third base. He will eventually go to West Virginia when he’s ready to make his 2015 debut.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Vertebras can pop in and/or out. Chronic pain is usually
pressure on the central nerve from either a faulty disc or stenosis (narrowing of the nerve path)..


This might be an unanswerable question but what was Connor Joe contact with the Pirates during the off-season, was he sent on his way with self directed rehab and training? Or was this something that was monitored regularly?

david jung

December 7 entry on his twitter page says “Pirate City bound” with palm tree and sailboat icons (like his sense of humor…calls himself a “college dropout”).


Thanks, eight months without sport specific activity just seems like a really long time for a back injury given proper rehab, but what do I know.


Sounds like Connor is the Bucs Dre,Archer – totally wasted draft pick. Hopefully I am wrong


WOW – could be a career ending injury if surgery is a possibility.

R Edwards

Wow, sounds like he may need back surgery at some point soon – if he is still recovering from throwing it out 9 months ago. I’ve had back surgery, so I know a little about it. Otherwise, it doesn’t make any sense that he is still not recovered from it. Sounds like they are trying to treat this thing with therapy and other non-surgical methods, and it hasn’t been extremely successful. Doesn’t sound good to me….


Is there a technical term for “throwing your back out”?

Seems like whatever happened to Joe was pretty severe. Surprised he’s in (visibly) decent shape after all that time off.


From a person that has had back surgery my back would “go out” a few times a year. For me it would basically tighten up like a vice and you would have to lie around for 2 days until it got better. I eventually started to have severe sciatic issues and found out I had a bulging disc and needed to have a micro-laminectomy. It took a good 8-10 months to feel nearly 100% after that. That is just one case but when a person has a back that “goes out” it can be a sign of anywhere from a minor to major chronic condition. He is younger and an athlete so if it is a minor disc issue you hope he can play through it and maybe eventually it will degenerate and he might be able to have it fixed in the offseason and not miss a lot of time. Disappointing news, especially considering he turns 23 in August. But hopefully he can get on the field for 3-400 PAs in 2015. Every case is different but to put it into perspective I had the surgery to take my 9-10 scale pain down to a 3-5 when it flares up. I was a runner and can no longer even jog. It nearly immediately causes the sciatica to come back. I hope for the best for him because my case was minor compared to a lot of back issues but still has caused a change in my weekend warrior lifestyle. I can only imagine what it could cause for a pro athlete. Luckily he is young and has access to the best specialists.


Just noticed this reply, Freddy. Thanks for the thoughts.

Lee Foo Young

I sprained my back once (I didn’t know you could do that) and I was out of action for about a month. It hurt to roll over in bed.

But, yeh, what is THROW your back out? I’ve heard the term, but never thought about it…..severe sprain?

Lee Foo Young

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