Pirates intend to activate Josh Harrison from disabled list for Sunday's game
Josh Harrison is back in town – and barring something unforeseen, he'll back atop the Pirates lineup Sunday.
"Our intent is to put him in play (Sunday)," manager Clint Hurdle said Saturday. "Then we'd have to make a corresponding move at that time."
Odds are, that corresponding move will be sending Nick Kingham back to Triple-A Indianapolis after his spot start Saturday; starter Joe Musgrove also is back in Pittsburgh, he's completed his rehab process and is targeting making his Pirates debut Thursday.
Saturday, the Pirates optioned Max Moroff – a player who profiles similarly to Harrison –to Indianapolis.
In his first action since suffering a broken hand getting hit by a pitch April 16 , Harrison played in three rehab games this week for Double-A Altoona – Monday, Thursday and Friday. He went 2 for 12 with a walk and an RBI.
Looks like Josh Harrison is rocking the same swing during his rehab stint in Altoona pic.twitter.com/j4QG6Csdqm— Jarrod Prugar (@jprugar26) May 14, 2018
"It felt really good," Harrison said. "Just excited to be able to progress and get ready to get back in the swing of things. Sitting watching for a couple weeks definitely sucks, but like I said I'm excited to be back.
"The first couple (rehab) at-bats are always like spring training," Harrison said moments later. "Just trying to see as many pitches as I can to make up for the time lost. That's why I was standing in on bullpens, anything I could try to get me ready. As my games progressed I felt like I got better."
Swinging a bat and hitting, of course, can be compromised by a broken hand. But there were other more subtle nuances of the game that Harrison wanted to test in Altoona before being cleared for return.
"I had a chance to make one tag," Harrison said. "A guy tried to go on a dirt ball and that was the only one. Tagged him, got him out. That's pretty much it. I got a couple ground balls. I don't think I had a chance to turn a double play. Some things I didn't really get presented with, but I still got a chance to test it in a game for three games and take it from there."
The Pirates' longest-tenured and second-highest-paid player, Harrison was hitting .263/.328/.351 in 64 plate appearances over 14 games before he was injured during a game in Miami. He had one of his best seasons (.771 OPS) in 2017.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.