BRADENTON, Fla. – Nick Kingham is currently scheduled to make his first official rehab appearance on Friday, pitching for the GCL Pirates. Kingham had Tommy John surgery at the end of last May, and has been building up in Bradenton recently, with a few sim games thrown in the last few weeks. It’s possible that this could mark the first rehab appearance for Elias Diaz, since he’s been catching Kingham in those sim games and in his bullpens. That’s only speculation though, as I haven’t heard anything on when Diaz will return.
I will have live coverage of Kingham’s return, along with video.
In other GCL injury news, Melvin Jimenez, who made our GCL Pirates top 10 prospects, is currently dealing with a hamstring issue. Here are the rest of the injury updates.
Nathan Trevillian Has Tommy John Surgery
You might be wondering “Who is Nathan Trevillian?” and there would be good reason to do so. The Pirates drafted the right-handed pitcher out of high school in the 22nd round last year, and got him to sign by giving him a $100,000 bonus. He sat mid-to-upper 80s and hit 90 MPH, with good movement and a downward angle on his fastball, along with a big breaking curveball.
He missed the entire 2015 season due to a muscle flexor injury, which led to right forearm tightness. That healed during the off-season, and he returned feeling good in Spring Training. That followed some live batting practice sessions during the Fall Instructional Leagues, where he made a brief return to the mound. All was going well until his final start in Spring Training when he was hurt during a pitch.
“It was a warmup pitch,” Trevillian said. “I threw a slider. And for some reason my symptoms of my UCL ligament wasn’t like everybody else’s. I didn’t feel tingling. It wasn’t swollen. Mine was different, but I couldn’t make it to home plate. I was spiking every fastball.”
After spiking a few pitches, he was removed from his start. On April 16th, he got the report that he tore his UCL, and he underwent Tommy John on April 22nd. The injury will put him out for the remainder of the year, along with the off-season. He should start throwing again the second week of August, but probably won’t throw off the mound until Spring Training next year. That could put him on track to make his pro debut with a short-season team at the middle of the 2017 season, two years after he was drafted.
Fortunately, Trevillian has a lot of support at Pirate City, with several other guys going through their Tommy John recovery, or guys who have already gone through the recovery, to offer support.
“The night before I had the surgery, I talked to a lot of guys around here who did have the surgery, and getting some advice, some motivation,” Trevillian said. “After surgery, the only thing we really talked about was the recovery process and how long it’s going to be. A lot of guys around here helped me out a lot, and keep me motivated. Keep going for it. So I’m looking forward to August. That’s when I start throwing again.”
Rinku Singh Returns to the Mound
Rinku Singh returned to the mound in yesterday’s GCL Pirates game. You can see some video here, along with my brief recap of the outing. I caught up with Singh after the appearance, and discussed his return, along with what is next in his rehab process.
“It was definitely great to be back out there. It’s been awhile,” Singh said. “It’s great having these guys supporting me out there as well. It’s time to give thanks back to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have continued to give me an opportunity, even though I haven’t pitched the past three years, and they re-signed me back. I think it’s finally time that I can say thank you to the Pirates.”
Singh is returning from three and a half years away from the game. He had Tommy John surgery prior to the 2013 season, and was out for the year. In 2014, he had more pain during his rehab process, and had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, which put him out for the year. Then, when he was building back up that off-season, he broke his elbow after getting up to throwing from 120 feet, and went out for the 2015 season.
The Pirates were cautious bringing him back after all of those injuries, which is why he didn’t make his return until yesterday, over a year and a half after the last injury. He’s now building back up, while working on his mechanics to keep his front arm shoulder high, and his weight on his back leg longer.
“So far it’s going pretty well,” Singh said of his adjustments. “It’s definitely not comfortable changing mechanics, but I think for the long-term, it’s going to be a really good idea to do that. I can feel already different throwing the baseball. Especially in my situation, I had three surgeries, so I have to be really careful to make sure I get the right mechanics and throw a proper way.”
Singh will throw one more inning with the GCL squad on Tuesday. After that, they’re still deciding where he will go, but he’s hoping he’ll get a chance to join the Marauders to show what he can do in his return. Singh isn’t really a prospect, throwing 86-88 MPH with his fastball, and getting a lot of his results in the past with movement and good off-speed stuff. That generally doesn’t work for soft-tossing lefties above A-ball. But he’s a good story, and if he can make it to Double-A at some point, that would make the story even better.
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.