Quality depth is a great problem to have for any organization and the Pittsburgh Pirates seem to be in a pretty good spot right now.
On Tuesday, as expected, prior to their game against the Tampa Rays, the Bucs activated second baseman Neil Walker off the 15-day disabled list. Walker missed the past two weeks following an appendectomy.
To make room for Walker the Pirates have outrighted outfielder Jose Tabata to Triple-A and off the team’s 40-man roster.
Walker was originally slated to play in a minor-league rehab game Monday, but decided instead to rejoin the Pirates and take some swings during rehabbing right-hander Gerrit Cole‘s simulated game.
That apparently went well enough that the Pirates are convinced he’s ready to return.
Before the appendectomy, Walker was having a fine season at the plate putting up a .280/.353/.452 slash line with 11 homers and 35 RBI.
In 62 games this season (28 starts), Tabata posted a .289/.327/.658 line with four doubles, one triple and 14 RBI. Tabata has the option to elect free agency instead of accept the assignment.
Being that the Pirates are in an American League park, Walker could serve as the team’s designated hitter, but Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle said prior to yesterday’s game that he would have no problems using Walker in the field right off the bat.
Now the question is what happens to Josh Harrison now that Walker has returned.
Depth is a great problem to have.