PITTSBURGH — It was moving day at PNC Park on Saturday, though the PGA Tour is in Texas this week. Several players had significant changes made to their roles. Here’s the rundown:
• Starling Marte was re-instated from the disabled list and will start in center field and bat third, having sufficiently recovered from his strained right oblique.
• To clear a roster spot for Marte, 1B/RF Jose Osuna was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. The move was made mostly because of the lack of opportunities for Osuna going forward. He’s behind Josh Bell and David Freese at first base, Colin Moran and Freese at third base, and Gregory Polanco and Austin Meadows in right field, which brings us to the next move.
• Meadows will be the team’s fourth outfielder — at least for now. Marte will be worked back slowly from his oblique injury, one that’s notorious for nagging. Polanco has been scuffling and Corey Dickerson is on pace to pass his career high innings played in the outfield by the All-Star break. So there should be plenty of playing time to go around for Meadows, though he won’t start on Saturday.
• Polanco is being dropped in the batting order to No. 7 while he works out his issues at the plate. He’s hitting .171/.310/.343 over his last 10 games, and maybe the biggest issue has been that he’s been unable to get the barrel to balls that have been out of over the plate in hitters’ counts. The move down the lineup might help to relax him a bit.
• It’ll also give a few extra at-bats to Francisco Cervelli, who will slot into Polanco’s second spot. His 157 wRC+ leads the Pirates and is 12th in the majors.
• Ivan Nova is questionable to make his next start, currently scheduled for Tuesday. Nova has a sprained ligament in his right ring finger. He said he injured it back on April 26. When he was hurt, he had a 3.32 ERA. Since then, he’s made five starts with a 7.61 ERA. Nova did not make his scheduled bullpen session this afternoon.
• Nick Kingham was pulled from his start in Indianapolis as a precaution. If Nova goes to the disabled list, he’ll start on Tuesday. If Nova skips a start without going to the disabled list, the Pirates can’t call up Kingham because of the 10-day rule. They would then likely start Steven Brault.
Got all that? Ok, good.
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It was a hot one with the sun beating down earlier, but some cloud cover has moved in, making for a beautiful afternoon at the ballpark. Those clouds will also bring thunderstorms, but they aren’t forecast to begin until 9 p.m. Game time temp is forecast to be 87 degrees by weather.com and the winds are mostly still.