Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz will not return this season, manager Derek Shelton announced on Tuesday during a radio show appearance. (The Pirates’ player development Twitter account has since confirmed as much.) Cruz, who has been sidelined since April 9 after fracturing his left fibula, is expected to report to camp next spring with a clean bill of health.
Cruz, 25 come October, had been hopeful that he could return to action before the season ended. He recently suffered a setback, however, stemming from left foot soreness he endured while running on a treadmill.
“You don’t want it to happen, but it’s normal with the kind of surgery we had to have a little bit of a setback,” Cruz told MLB.com. “But we’re optimistic that we’re going to go back out again and do our best to get back as soon as possible.”
Cruz simply ran out of time from there, with both the Major and Minor League Baseball seasons nearing their conclusions. Rather than rush him back, the Pirates decided to shift his focus to next season.
Cruz appeared in just nine games this season after finishing sixth in National League Rookie of the Year Award voting last year. In 98 career big-league games, he’s batted .237/.302/.449 (108 OPS+) with 19 home runs and 13 stolen bases (on 17 attempts). His contributions have been worth an estimated 2.5 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference’s calculations.
The Pirates enter Tuesday with a 66-78 record on the regular season, putting them three games up on the St. Louis Cardinals for fourth in the National League Central. The Pirates’ current 45.8 winning percentage represents their best mark since the 2018 season, when they went 82-79. At minimum, they’ve ensured they will not lose 100 or more games for a third consecutive season.