Lonnie Chisenhall joins 6 other Pirates on injured list with broken finger
CINCINNATI — The Pittsburgh Pirates’ first moves of the season Thursday were not what the front office had in mind for Opening Day. The Pirates placed seven players, including starting right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall and starting pitcher Jordan Lyles, on the injured list prior to their game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.
Chisenhall, who was signed in the offseason from the Cleveland Indians to fill in while Gregory Polanco recovers from left shoulder surgery, was hit by a pitch in Houston on Monday. The Pirates placed him on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Tuesday, with a right index finger fracture. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Chisenhall will miss four to six weeks.
Melky Cabrera, J.B. Shuck and Pablo Reyes are expected to man right field until either Polanco or Chisenhall returns. Cabrera was in the starting lineup Thursday.
“I feel good playing anywhere Clint puts me,” Cabrera, a switch-hitter in his 15th MLB season, said through interpreter Mike Gonzalez. “They are all great players. J.B. is great defensively. The manager can look at all of us and say, ‘Hey, I can depend on each one of those guys.’ “
Hurdle said he expects to use all three early in the season.
“We have some options and how we want to use Melky late in the game, whether we want to run for him, whether we want to defend for him,” he said. “Shuck and Reyes will be players in that position. I have an inclination to get everybody in sooner than later to get them involved and to get that first opportunity out of the way so they can settle and play.”
Pirates dirctor of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said doctors will reassess Chisenhall’s injury in 10 days. He didn’t reveal a definitive timetable for Chisenhall’s return, and Tomcyzk also did not confirm a report he will miss four to six weeks.
“To put a general outline on Lonnie right now is not fair to him, not fair to the injury,” Tomczyk said. “Different bones heal different ways. There are different degrees and different severities of the breaks. To put four to six weeks would be inaccurate right now.”
Soon after the injury occurred, the Pirates were hoping for better diagnosis.
“Sometimes what initial diagnositcs show may not be 100 percent accurate due to the amount of soft-tissue swelling,” Tomczyk said. “In all fairness to everybody involved, nothing was missed. Once swelling subsides, you commonly get a follow-up exam to confirm the original findings.”
Lyles, who was expected to be the fifth starter in the Pirates’ rotation, also is on the 10-day list with right side discomfort.
“He is not dealing with any symptoms right now,” Tomczyk said, “just building back from (the original injury).”
Lyles will pitch a simulated six-inning, 100-pitch game in Bradenton, Fla., this week to prepare him to pitch next week. Tomczyk said it has not been determined if the second outing will be another simulated game or off the mound against live bats.
Manager Clint Hurdle would not speculate if Lyles could pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals next week at PNC Park.
“We’ll take it one step at a time once he completes the task,” he said.
Also placed on the 10-day list were catcher Elias Díaz (virius), relief pitcher Dovydas Neverauskas (left oblique strain), outfielder/infielder José Osuna (lower neck discomfort) and Polanco. All are retroactive to Monday, with the exception of Chisenhall.
Also, relief pitcher Edgar Santana (Tommy John surgery) was placed on 60-day list.
In other moves, pitchers Jake Barrett and Aaron Slegers were designated for assignment.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .