Pirates notebook: Jose Osuna gets start again as role expands
Jose Osuna’s key for being a good pinch hitter is to always be ready.
“Be ready in every inning,” said Osuna, who has excelled in that role this season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. “I think that’s the most important, be ready for the first pitch.”
Now, he seems more than ready for a bigger role.
Osuna started Wednesday for the eighth time in 12 games, a stretch in which he’s batted .444 with five doubles, three home runs and nine RBIs. He’s started five of six since the trade deadline.
The first baseman/third baseman/corner outfielder has benefited from Corey Dickerson’s trade and Jung Ho Kang’s release. Osuna has made eight starts at third base, eight at first, two in right field and one in left.
He went 2 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI on Tuesday.
“That helps when you have a little bit more consistency,” Osuna said, “and when you have more opportunity.”
Overall, he’s batting .324 with eight home runs, 11 doubles and 22 RBIs. As a pinch hitter, Osuna is batting .370 with five home runs.
Cervelli behind plate
Francisco Cervelli, on the injured list since late May, was behind the plate for the second day in a row Wednesday to catch a simulated outing by reliever Keone Kela, who’s serving a suspension.
The catcher hasn’t played since May 25 while recovering from a concussion — at least the sixth of his career – but continues to make progress, trainer Todd Tomczyk said.
“He continues to be symptom-free and working back toward all catching-like activities, which is very encouraging,” Tomczyk said. “First and foremost, to see Francisco normal again is awesome.”
However, Cervelli’s next step isn’t certain as he works toward a return to game action. He hasn’t been cleared yet, Tomczyk said.
“That’s always fluid, but our guidance by the experts has been to continue to advance his catching progression,” Tomczyk said. “As you’ve seen, he’s now being exposed to having a potential foul tip off the mask. So that’s a step in the right direction.”
Gregory Polanco resumed all baseball activities while rehabbing in Florida from shoulder inflammation, Tomczyk said. The outfielder, on the injured list since June 22, has made progress with his range of motion hitting and throwing.
“That’s very encouraging news there,” Tomczyk said.
Jameson Taillon’s elbow surgery is expected to take place early next week, Tomczyk said. The Pirates announced Aug. 2 the right-hander would undergo season-ending surgery to repair a flexor tendon in his pitching arm.
Dr. David Altcheck will perform the surgery.
Clay Holmes will make his second rehab appearance Thursday in Altoona. The right-handed reliever was placed on the IL on July 24 with right triceps inflammation.
The Pirates will use starting pitchers Chris Archer, Joe Musgrove and Steven Brault in the three-game series in St. Louis that begins Friday.