Get ready, Pirates fans. Ke’Bryan Hayes’ return might be right around the corner.
Pittsburgh general manager Ben Cherington said on his 93.7 The Fan radio show Sunday that Hayes is expected to join the alternate site team in Toledo for its game Tuesday and will likely play one or two games. It will be the first live-game action for the Pirates’ rookie third baseman since he suffered a left wrist injury April 3 against the Cubs. If he can get through the games without any setbacks, a return to the Pirates could happen soon.
“Assuming he gets through that OK, hopefully he’s not too long away from being activated,” Cherington said.
Hayes was eligible to return from the 10-day injured list Wednesday, but the Pirates have been clear they will not rush Hayes back into action. Manager Derek Shelton provided updates on Hayes’ status throughout the week. Hayes was able to take swings against a pitching machine Tuesday, hit off a live arm in the cage Friday and hit on American Family Field the rest of the weekend.
Hayes homered in his first at-bat of the season off Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks on April 1, following a Spring Training where Hayes slashed .431/.463/.745 with a 1.208 OPS. He recorded 10 extra-base hits and drove in nine runs in 17 spring games.
In his place, Phillip Evans has emerged as a solid bat for Pittsburgh. Evans went into Sunday hitting .292 with a .903 OPS and three home runs.