Pirate Pocket book: Phillip Evans “Prepared To Play Anyplace” When Ke’Bryan Hayes Returns

When the Pittsburgh Pirates expected a rookie third baseman to finish second and make the line-up pop, no one expected it would be Phillip Evans instead of Ke’Bryan Hayes.

28-year-old Evans is not your average newbie. Evans, a journeyman who played 34 games for the New York Mets in 2017/18 and spent a season with the Chicago Cubs Triple A partner, got the Pirates out of spring training last year and had a hot bat before ending the season suffered a broken jaw in a collision with Gregory Polanco.

Evans took advantage of Hayes’ stint on the 10-day list of injured with a sore wrist to get another strong start. Evans faced the Cubs on Sunday at .391 (9 for 23) with three home runs and four RBIs and had safely reached in all six games he started. 1 win over the Cubs.

“I treat every day like a new day,” said Evans. “I prepare for any position, wherever they want to take me out. Knowing that I’ll get even more bats during Key’s downtime, that’s definitely confidence-building for me. As I said, I come to the ballpark every day with the same attitude, the same mentality, every night. ”

Hayes, who joined the 10-day IL on April 4th, can be activated on Wednesday. Ben Cherington, general manager of Pirates, said on his weekly radio show on 93.7 FM on Sunday that he did not have a “set schedule” for Hayes to return. Cherington was asked if it was possible for Evans to stay in the line-up but play other positions.

“I think maybe both,” said Cherington. “We know that there are people who become everyday gamblers by playing many courses.”

Really appreciating the versatility of Evans, who has played third base, right field, left field, and even an inning this season, pirate manager Derek Shelton said the key is that Evans is always ready to play.

“I think what plays the most is that they know they are going to play multiple positions,” Shelton said. “We were very transparent when Phil broke camp and said, ‘You could play first. You could play second. You could play third. You could play both corners. Be ready to play anywhere. ‘”

Way to bad luck, Mitch

Shelton shared what he said when he started pitcher Mitch Keller in their 8-2 win over the Cubs on Saturday night, who ended a streak of six losses. He pointed out that he cared more about the 25-year-old right-handed man the way he dealt with adversity after hard spring training and the first start.

“The nature was that I just told him how proud I am of him,” Shelton said. “He’s had a couple of starts that he struggled on and he went out in a situation where we’d lost a couple of games in a row and he did really well and he went the lead-off batsman, bounced right back and could execute. So that was just the message: I really appreciated the effort. ”

Good guidance, good reading

After giving up double-digit runs in back-to-back games in Cincinnati, Shelton said the pirates would need to flush and recalibrate the road trip. The main focuses included being more aggressive on the platter and making the bases run better.

Shelton credited Bryan Reynolds for taking a good lead on second base and a good read on Colin Moran’s two-RBI single in the second inning in the second round to hit the throw on the plate and an inning with to extend seven runs.

“It’s really easy to say, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t double up. You should be tagging here, ”Shelton said. “But if things are going really well we need to make sure we identify them, and Reynolds probably read as well as he could have done last night, going home. It was a bang-bang piece. … These things are important too, so we need to talk about these things, not just the negative connotation things. ”

Hard trio

The San Diego Padres are visiting PNC Park for a four-game series. Their likely starters include NL Cy Young’s 2020 runner-up Yu Darvish versus Trevor Cahill on Monday, AL Cy Young’s 2018 winner Blake Snell versus Chad Kuhl on Tuesday, and former pirate mug Joe Musgrove, who was successful against Texas against Tyler Anderson on Wednesday. The left Adrian Morejon has to face Keller on Thursday afternoon.

“These three are decent, so we definitely cut our work out for ourselves,” said pirate catcher Jacob Stallings. “I think the boys will be ready. We have confident people who go on series. Hopefully we can continue like this. ”

Kevin Gorman is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Kevin by email at kgorman@triblive.com or on Twitter.

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