Vazquez will get arm checked out

By John Mehno

For the Mirror

PITTSBURGH — Felipe Vazquez entered Sunday’s game at PNC Park, blew another save and allowed three inherited runners to score.

And that wasn’t even the worst of it.

After the disastrous outing, Vazquez was seen in the dugout, holding his left forearm.

Following the Pirates’ 6-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said Vazquez was being examined for discomfort in his forearm.

According to Tomczyk, Vazquez said he felt the discomfort after throwing his last few pitches.

Tomczyk said it was the first time Vazquez had reported any problems with his forearm or elbow since he joined the Pirates in July of 2016.

Vazquez was not available for comment.

Any pain in the elbow or forearm immediately sets off alarms that Tommy John ligament replacement might be necessary. Pitchers typically miss a full year after that procedure.

However, it is important to note that no diagnosis had been made as of Sunday evening. Vazquez was being seen by the Pirates’ medical staff.

Tuesday’s choice

The Pirates still list their Tuesday starting pitcher as “undecided,” but it appears Nick Kingham will be called up from Class AAA Indianapolis to make that start.

That would be Ivan Nova’s spot, but Nova has a strained ligament in his right index finger.

Steven Brault was the No. 1 choice as a substitute within the staff. However, he pitched two innings of relief in Sunday’s game, which would seemingly disqualify him from working on Tuesday.

Kingham hasn’t been in the minor leagues for 10 days since he was sent back. Because of that, the Pirates would have to put Nova on the disabled list in order to bring Kingham back to the major league roster.

“We’re still walking through options,” Hurdle said.

Cervelli sits

Francisco Cervelli was a late scratch from the starting lineup because of flu-like symptoms. He was scheduled to bat second, but Austin Meadows was inserted in that spot for the first time.

Trying him there

Meadows got his first start in left field, for a dual purpose.

The Pirates want to work in some down time for Corey Dickerson, and Hurdle expects to play Meadows in about seven of 10 games.

“Playing every day at the major league level has value,” Hurdle said. “But what does playing every day mean? Playing seven out of 10 days at the major league level is way better for me, as far as the opportunity for development, learning, challenges, than Triple A.”

Meadows said he’s fine with playing any of the outfield positions.

“The more you can do,” he said.

Want to simplify things?

“As long as he’s here, he’s going to play,” Hurdle said.

Meadows has been learning the quirks of the PNC Park outfield — the short fence in left field, the notch in left center, and the often unpredictable caroms off the auxiliary scoreboard in right.

Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com

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