Pennsylvania Notes: Hayes, Goodwin, Howard, Realmuto

The latest on the Keystone State’s two MLB teams…

  • Pirates GM Ben Cherington provided reporters (including Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) with an update on Ke’Bryan Hayes, saying that the third baseman hasn’t yet started to swing a bat, but is still “feeling improvement” in his bothersome wrist.  Hayes has been sidelined since the second game of the season and has already been dealt with one setback in his recovery process.  Cherington didn’t give a timetable on a potential return for Hayes, though he will be joining the Pirates on their upcoming road trip from May 3-9.
  • Brian Goodwin wasn’t on the list of names slated for the Pirates’ preliminary Triple-A roster, and Cherington told The Athletic’s Rob Biertempfel that the team hopes to have the situation with Goodwin’s opt-out clause settled in a day or two.  Goodwin’s minor league deal with the Bucs contains an opt-out clause in May, and it remains to be seen if that opt-out date could be extended, or if Goodwin could leave the organization, or even if Goodwin could be called up to the Pittsburgh roster.  Gregory Polanco, Bryan Reynolds, and utilityman Phillip Evans comprise the team’s first-choice starting outfield mix, with utilityman Wilmer Difo and recent waiver claim Ka’ai Tom on the bench.  The veteran Goodwin would certainly represent a more experienced, outfield-only presence on the roster, and Goodwin can play all three positions.  As per the terms of the minor league deal, Goodwin would earn $1.6MM if he made Pittsburgh’s active roster.
  • The Phillies announced earlier this week that top pitching prospect Spencer Howard was going to be stretched out for a rotation spot, though president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski provided a bit more detail on Howard’s role to Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer and other reporters.  Howard might technically start a game, but “we’re talking about giving him two-, three-, maybe even a four-inning type of thing,” Dombrowski said.  “But we’re not talking about stretching him out to those number of innings where you consider him as a starting-starting pitcher, per se.”  Between Howard’s health history and the lost 2020 minor league season, the Phillies are being careful with their young hurler’s arm, targeting him for an unspecified innings limit in 2021.  The Phils initially aimed to use Howard as a reliever this season, but plans changed given the lack of production from the fourth and fifth spots in the team’s rotation.
  • J.T. Realmuto has been out of the Phillies’ starting lineup for two straight games due to a sore left hand.  The catcher suffered the injury while trying to block a wild pitch in Thursday’s game, with the ball hitting the heel of Realmuto’s hand.  It isn’t yet known how much more time Realmuto will miss, though it might not be too serious a situation, considering Rafael Marchan was optioned back to the alternate training site earlier today — Realmuto and Andrew Knapp are the only catchers on Philadelphia’s 26-man roster.

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