Finally, Ke’Bryan Hayes will be back in the saddle in Pittsburgh.
The third-base sensation could be back in the lineup for the Pirates as early as Thursday, according to Pirates’ general manager Ben Cherington. He announced the injury update on his radio show.
Barring a setback, Cherington said that he expects Hayes to make his long-awaited return to the big leagues as early as Thursday when he is officially eligible to come off of the 60-day injury list.
— Indianapolis Indians (@indyindians) May 22, 2021
The Bucs’ top prospect began his rehab assignment for Triple-A Indianapolis this past Saturday against St. Paul, marking his first appearance since his initial wrist injury occurred.
— Indianapolis Indians (@indyindians) May 30, 2021
In six games, Hayes batted.300 with six hits, six runs, three RBIs, two doubles, and two walks. He still has a knack for the ball on the defensive side as well.
— Indianapolis Indians (@indyindians) May 29, 2021
The Pirates’ organization has been monitoring his progress, and they’ve liked what they have seen thus far, hence the early return.
Cherington told MLB.com, “Once we got as far out from the injury as we have, and it’s going to be two months or whatever, we just felt like we really needed to have almost a spring training progression.”
He added, “The last thing we wanted to do was sort of rush him back, and then something else happens because his body was just not ready.”
Cole Tucker, a close friend and teammate, said he is excited for his buddy to be back alongside himself as he spoke on the importance of his close friends’ return.
“I know the first two months of this season haven’t gone how he or anyone pictured, but he’s in a good spot, and he’s in a good headspace,” Tucker told MLB.com.
The hesitancy about the 24-year-old’s progress is valid as the Pirates have seen this since the initial wrist injury took place on April 4. Before the long-term IL designation, Pittsburgh placed KB on the 10-day injury list.
Hayes showed signs of recovery before suffering a setback after a cumbersome swing against celebrity competition in a centralized location in Detroit. After the incident, Hayes faced live at-bats with teammates before suffering more malaise in his wrist and hand.
Ke’Bryan Hayes going through infield drills w nothing on his wrist pic.twitter.com/p9BN40zvkH
— Jeff Hathhorn (@jhathhorn) April 14, 2021
Before starting the season, Hayes led the charge as the preseason favorite for the National League Rookie of the Year Award due to his hot finish of the pandemic-shortened season.
In 24 games, he batted .376 with 14 extra-base hits, 11 runs batted in, and five home runs. He also had a .442 on-base percentage, and a .682 slugging percentage with a 1.124 on-base plus slugging percentage.
Losers of seven of their last 10 games, the Bucs first two months of the season has them sputtering in the National League Central Division with a 20-32 record. So, the return of the franchise player could bring a much-needed spark at the plate and the field.
Baseball fans and enthusiasts are hoping a setback doesn’t occur for Hayes as the league and the team needs star players to move the game forward.
Look for Hayes to make his return Thursday as the Pirates host Jazz Chisholm and his Miami Marlins at PNC Park at 7:05 P.M. ET.