Kuhl beginning rehab for elbow

By John Mehno

For the Mirror

PITTSBURGH — The Pirates had been hoping to get Chad Kuhl back on the mound this month.

Instead, he’ll be starting a rehab program after having elbow surgery on Wednesday.

The surgery was done in New York on Wednesday afternoon. Because Kuhl and his family had not been briefed on all the details, the Pirates deferred offering information on the exact nature of the surgery and timeline for his recovery.

Kuhl last pitched on June 26. He was 5-5 this season with a 4.55 earned run average in 16 starts with a WHIP of 1.435.

In other injury news:

n Gregory Polanco is still in Pittsburgh a week after surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He will soon transfer to the team’s Florida training base.

Polanco’s recovery is expected to take seven to nine months.

n Director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said Jung Ho Kang has been getting at bats in simulated games in Florida. The Fall Instructional League will start soon, and Kang is expected to play in those games.

There is a slim chance he could play for the Pirates before the season ends a week from Sunday.

Kang had wrist surgery on Aug. 3. He has not played in the major leagues since 2016.

The Pirates hold an option on him for next season at $5.5 million. They can buy that out for $250,000.

Over the weekend, general manager Neal Huntington said, “We’ll see where this market takes us. We like the player, we like the upside. Obviously to add a righthanded bat that can hit 25 to 30 home runs and play good defense, if we can get him back to that, that’s a really interesting player.

“But we also haven’t seen that player for two years. So if there’s a middle ground, hopefully we’ll be able to find it.”

Alumni news

The Tampa Bay Rays plan to call up Austin Meadows today.

He has been playing at the Class AAA level since the Pirates traded him to the Rays as part of the Chris Archer deal on July 31.

Helping hand

Kevin Newman could wind up succeeding Jordy Mercer as the Pirates shortstop, but that isn’t preventing Mercer from being a mentor to the rookie.

“We have a lot of good conversations,” Newman said. “I can ask him anything and talk shop. We talk quite a bit.”

When Clint Barmes was on his way out, he helped Mercer break in as his replacement. Now Mercer is the veteran helping a new player.

“That’s the kind of guys the Prates have,” Newman said. “Everybody is good people. They’re guys you can approach and have a conversation with. We don’t have guys who are unapproachable.”

Day off

The Pirates enjoy their last scheduled open date of the season today. Milwaukee will be in over the weekend to close the home schedule.

Mehno can be reached at: johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com