PHOENIX -- Jung Ho Kang hadn't been playing much, and now he won't play at all for a while.
The Pirates placed their immensely struggling third baseman on the 10-day injured list Monday, labeling the issue a strained left side. Hitless in hist last 23 at-bats, he is batting .133/.204/.300 with four home runs in 90 at-bats, and has made just two starts in May. Sunday in St. Louis, he was bypassed as a pinch-hitter in favor of pitcher Joe Musgrove.
Kevin Newman is scheduled to start at third base Monday night against the Diamondbacks in the opener of a three-game series at Chase Field. It will be Newman's first appearance at the position in his relatively brief major-league career.
Kang will not participate in baseball activities during the three days the Pirates play the Diamondbacks then will be reevaluated Thursday when the they open a four-game series in San Diego against the Padres.
To take Kang's place on the 25-man roster, the Pirates selected the contract of 31-year-old utilityman Jake Elmore from Class AAA Indianapolis.
To create space on the 40-man roster for Elmore, the Pirates moved Jameson Taillon from the 10-day IL to the 60-day.
Elmore was batting .380/.444/.546 with Indianapolis, his batting average leading the International League. He had 12 doubles, 13 walks and 15 strikeouts in 124 plate appearances after spending the offseason making swing changes.
"I worked a lot of my positioning, having my lower half be in the best position possible to hit," Elmore said. "I've been driving the ball to all parts of the field. I feel I'm a more polished, more aggressive, more dangerous hitter."
Elmore returns to the major leagues for the first time since 2016 when he played in 59 games with the Brewers. He has also spent time with the Diamondbacks (2012), Astros (2013), Reds (2014) and Rays (2015). He is a career .215/.297/.280 hitter in 197 major-league games.
The 31-year-old went to spring training with the White Sox this year. The Pirates acquired him in a trade just before the start of the minor-league season.
Getting called up with the Pirates playing the Diamondbacks represents a homecoming for Elmore. The Dothan, Ala., native played at Arizona State and was once a rising star in the Diamondbacks organization, and he resides in the Phoenix area.
I'm not a doctor but the Kang injury seems rather suspicious -- like many injuries in the major league these days.
This will give the Pirates a chance to eventually send Kang to Indianapolis for a rehab assignment that could last a maximum of 20 days. The rehab will be more about fixing his swing than letting his side heal.
How much Elmore will contribute remains to be seen, but there is no denying he was swinging at hot bat at Indy.
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