The Pirates have called up two of their top prospects, shortstop Cole Tucker and center fielder Bryan Reynolds, from Class AAA Indianapolis and inserted them right into the starting lineup, this after placing Erik Gonzalez on the 60-day disabled list with a left clavicle fracture and Starling Marte on the 10-day IL with an abdominal wall contusion.
Tucker will bat leadoff and Reynolds will hit fifth this afternoon against the Giants at PNC Park. It will mark the major-league debut for both players.
The Pirates needed reinforcements after Gonzalez and Marte were both injured when they collided chasing a fly ball in Friday night’s 4-1 win over the Giants.
Director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said the Pirates wouldn't fully know how long Gonzalez and Marte will be out for at least another two or three days but did saw neither injury is season-ending. Tomczyk also said Gonzalez is unlikely to need surgery.
Tomczyk talked about the injuries.
According to MLB's Statcast, Marte was running 25 mph and Gonzalez 19 mph when they collided.
Tucker, 22, was hitting .333/.415/.579 with three home runs and five stolen bases in 13 games with Indianapolis. Reynolds, 24, had a .367/.446/.735 line with five homers and three steals in 13 games.
Tucker told the story about how he received the news from Indianapolis manager Brian Esposito:
The ebullient Tucker could not hide his excitement about making his major-league debut.
“I’m stoked,” he said. “If I could run back and tell second-grade Cole that this was happening, he would have freaked out. It’s just cool to be here and experience it. Last night, I was on a bed when I got the call that I was getting called up (from Indianapolis manager Brian Esposito) and I was literally jumping up and down on it.
“It’s everything you dream about. It’s a lifelong goal. To come here and ultimately help the team win and add value is a blessing.”
I asked Tucker if he was ready to play in the big leagues and he smiled as the Pirates prepared to take batting practice.
"If I'm not, I've got three hours to figure it out," he said.
The more understated Reynolds was also happy to get the call to the majors late Friday night/early Saturday morning.
"I tried to sleep but didn't really have success there," he said. "It's a quick turn of events there. You just can't predict how things will shake out in this game."
Meanwhile, Adam Frazier was not in the lineup for a second straight game because of back spasms, though he may be available off the bench today.
Losing Gonzalez for two months could be addition by subtraction. He is a great guy but he looks overmatched as a major-league regular.
Tucker would seemingly have a shot to seize the shortstop job but what will likely work against him is that he would gain another year of eligibility for salary arbitration if he stays in the major leagues for the remained of the season.
Reynolds will also get a chance to prove if he can play in the major leagues, though his stay could be shorter as Gregory Polanco figures to be activated from the IL within the next week.
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