Pirates promote Cole Tucker, Bryan Reynolds for game vs. Giants
The Pittsburgh Pirates weren’t expecting Cole Tucker to make his major-league debut in April after he had accumulated just 57 at-bats at Triple-A. The same philosophy applied to outfielder Bryan Reynolds, who had 49 at-bats above the Double-A level.
Circumstances changed when the Pirates, already thin at shortstop and outfield because of a myriad of injuries, lost center fielder Starling Marte and shortstop Erik Gonzalez to injuries after a scary collision Friday night.
Gonzalez took the worst of it. He was placed on the 60-day injured list Saturday with a left clavicle fracture. Marte was placed on the 10-day injured list with an abdominal wall contusion and right quad contusion.
Todd Tomczyk, the Pirates director of sports medicine, said it is too early to tell whether Gonzalez will need surgery on his shoulder, which he said was not separated in the collision. The extent of Marte’s absence beyond 10 days also is not known, he said.
With few other options available, the Pirates promoted Tucker and purchased the contract of Reynolds from Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday.
Tucker, the team’s No. 1 draft pick in 2014, started at shortstop and batted leadoff against the San Francisco Giants. Reynolds, acquired in the Andrew McCutchen trade with the Giants, started in center and batted fifth.
“The need for center field and shortstop, quite frankly,” manager Clint Hurdle said when asked why Tucker and Reynolds got the call. “Next man up, absolutely.”
The Pirates lead the National League Central despite having about as many injuries as wins. In the outfield, the Pirates have Gregory Polanco, Corey Dickerson, Lonnie Chisenhall, Jose Osuna and Marte on the injured list. Their backup shortstop, Kevin Newman, is out with a finger injury, and second baseman Adam Frazier has been bothered by back spasms.
Tomczyk said Marte was running at 25 mph and Gonzalez at 19 mph when they collided.
“These guys were moving,” he said. “They were going extremely fast.”
Tucker is the team’s shortstop of the future, but there are no assurances he will stick with the Pirates after the backlog of injuries subsides.
“I haven’t given it any thought, and nobody has in our organization,” Hurdle said. “We tried to figure out what was best for our club right now, and we’ll see how it plays out daily. That is our intent. That is our mindset.”
Both players had gotten off to good starts at Indianapolis. Tucker was batting .333 with three homers and seven RBI. He also had five steals and was tied for second in the International League with 19 hits. Reynolds was batting .367 with five homers and 11 RBI. He was tied for second in the International League in home runs and was third with 36 total bases.
“We feel good about giving them this opportunity, and we’ll see where it takes us,” Hurdle said. “We’re all going to learn from it.”
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .