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First Pitch: Vibes

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Joshua Palacios returned to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday night, replacing Jared Jones, who went on the injured list. Palacios was batting .311/.386/.419 in Triple-A prior to the callup, including a .362/.423/.511 line over the last month.

In his time with the Pirates last year, Palacios had a .239/.279/.413 line, while featuring some clutch moments off the bench. The Pirates are struggling in the outfield this year, with Jack Suwinski and Edward Olivares putting up negative value in right field. I don’t think Palacios can upgrade the starter position, but he can provide the Pirates with a part-time player who brings energy with every plate appearance.

The thing I liked most about Palacios last year were the vibes. He looked like a guy living a childhood dream of making the majors, with celebrations for every big play. The vibes around the team last year were more palpably light and fun, and Palacios fit into that.

By comparison, the vibes around this year’s team have been more serious and professional, like this isn’t a children’s game being played. There has been some of the light and relaxed attitude among the starting rotation, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this is the best performing group.

Palacios got into last night’s game, walking as a pinch hitter. He should be a good bat off the bench, but more importantly, he could be a boost to the attitude of this team, allowing more than the pitchers to embrace having fun producing on the field.

Jared Jones Out

The Pirates placed Jared Jones on the injured list with a right lat strain, leading to the Palacios callup. Jones suffered the injury in his start on Wednesday, being removed from the game after five innings.

The injury hopefully won’t keep him out long, but the silver lining is that it could help to control his innings totals. Jones has pitched 91 innings this year in the Pirates’ rotation. He has a career high of 126.1 innings, which was set last season.

At this point, Jones is about a month away from reaching his career-high innings totals. With three months to go in the season, he’s on pace for an increase. This trip to the IL will limit his workload. Even if he misses a month, he could probably end up with around 150 innings by the end of this season, which would be a healthy increase.

Pirates Lose But Perez Bounces Back

The Pirates lost 3-2 in 10 innings, once again getting very little production from their offense. Bryan Reynolds hit his 14th homer of the year in the fourth inning, but the Pirates went to extra innings tied, turning to last month’s waiver claim Dennis Santana in the 10th. Santana allowed two runs, and the Pirates could only get one back in the bottom half of the inning.

The good news from this game is that Martin Perez bounced back, after a rough return to the rotation in his first start off the injured list. Perez allowed one unearned run (on his own error) in 7.1 innings, with six hits, one walk, and two strikeouts.

With Jones out, and the offense still stagnant, the Pirates need that type of production from Perez.

They will need a fifth starter, and that could be Luis Ortiz for now, who was pitching well when Perez was out of action. Marco Gonzales is also on a rehab assignment in the minors, and could return this month to give the rotation some depth.

Roster Moves

**Henry Davis was sent on a rehab assignment to Indianapolis, where he caught a complete game and picked up two hits at the plate on Thursday.

**Garret Forrester was sent on a rehab assignment with the FCL Pirates. Forrester, drafted in the third round last year, has been playing for Bradenton this year.

**Francisco Acuna was placed on Altoona’s full-season injured list.

**Dylan Shockley was activated for Indianapolis, after going on the Development List earlier this week.

Pirates Prospects Daily

Thomas Harrington threw seven shutout innings for the Altoona Curve, and Termarr Johnson hit his eighth homer of the year on Thursday. Read about all of the action throughout the minor league system in the latest Pirates Prospect Watch.

Pirates Prospect Watch: Thomas Harrington Throws Seven Shutout Innings

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Tim Williams
Tim Williams
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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