The Pirates announced three moves Friday afternoon: Kang was designated for assignment, Erik Gonzalez was activated from the 60-day injury list and brought back from Class AAA Indianapolis, and Pablo Reyes will be recalled from Indianapolis for the game tonight against the Mets at PNC Park.
When a player is DFA'd, a team has 10 days to trade, waive or outright release him.
Kang, 32, was batting .169/.222/.395 with 10 home runs, seven doubles and a triple in 185 plate appearances. If he reached 200 plate appearances, the Pirates would have owed him a $625,000 bonus on top of his $3 million salary. Given the value of that performance, it's very unlikely another team would claim him off waivers, so he could still clear and go to Indianapolis, where he'd continue receiving full pay. (The bonus only applies to plate appearances in the majors.)
Gonzalez entered 2019 as the Pirates' starting shortstop, but he fractured his left clavicle April 17 in an ugly outfield collision with Starling Marte, then was set back further in his rehab with hamstring issues. In 59 plate appearances with Pittsburgh, he'd batted .216/.298/.294. In 78 plate appearances with Indianapolis, he batted .192/.222/.295.
Reyes opened 2019 on the Pirates' roster, as well, but was demoted May 4 after batting .128/.190/.128. In 188 plate appearances for Indianapolis, he batted .286/.342/.543 with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs.
Now, with another chance in the majors, Reyes looks forward to not only showcasing his improvements but helping a struggling Pirates team that is last in the NL Central at 47-61 and is just 3-16 since the All-Star break.
I asked Reyes, through translator Mike Gonzalez, about that dynamic at his locker before Friday night's game:
Reyes will be expected to play a variety of positions, just as he has during his recent stint in Triple-A, where he's bounced between both the infield and the outfield. That versatility and willingness to help the team in any way continues to impress the Pirates.
"Pablo's gone down and done everything we've asked him to do down there for a significant amount of time," Clint Hurdle was saying in his office before the game.