Pittsburgh Pirates Notebook: Henry Davis, Jared Jones, Rotation Plans

The latest on the Pittsburgh Pirates, including an injury updates and the plans for Paul Skenes, Jared Jones and the rotation.

Jared Jones of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in his MLB debut in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park.
MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 30: Jared Jones #37 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in his MLB debut in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park on March 30, 2024 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Brennan Asplen/Getty Images)

DENVER — As the Pittsburgh Pirates wrap up a six-game road trip through St. Louis and Denver, let’s dive into a notebook on a variety of topics overheard during Pittsburgh’s stay so far in the Mile High City.

Hopes for Henry Davis slowed by concussion

After Davis hit his first home run of the season on Wednesday in St. Louis, Pirates manager Derek Shelton was hoping to see more power and success at the plate from the 24-year-old catcher as the Pirates visited Coors Field over the weekend.

“I think when you go down and you get a little bit of a refresh and you have some success, it gives you that confidence back,” Shelton said of Davis, who was hitting .296 with seven doubles, seven homers and 17 RBI in 23 Triple-A games when he was recalled on June 4.

“I think we’re seeing that out of Henry right now.”

Ad – content continues below

However, those hopes were short-circuited in the series opener against the Rockies after Davis left the game in the seventh inning after taking a foul ball to the mask. Prior to his exit, Davis was 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts.

On Saturday, Davis was placed on the seven-day injured list with concussion-like symptoms.

“He took a pretty good shot last night, and then an inning later, he came over and wasn’t in a good spot,” Shelton said before Saturday’s game. “So we got him out, we ran him through the protocol … we have to make sure — these are serious, serious things when you’re dealing with foul balls and I appreciate that Major League Baseball really has a really good protocol in this case.”

Shelton’s insights on Jared Jones, Paul Skenes

While Skenes did not pitch in Colorado (more on that in a moment), Jones took the mound on Saturday night.

“The ability to execute in the strike zone,” Shelton answered when asked what has impressed him the most about his two young hurlers. “I think that’s the thing in their mindsets. They’re both young and they’re not scared. They go right after people.”

The “attack mode” from Jones was on display on Saturday night with six strikeouts, including back-to-back batters to open the game, but Coors Field certainly took its toll on the 22-year-old right-hander as the six runs he surrendered over 4.2 innings were a season-high (as were his four walks).

Ad – content continues below

Five of Colorado’s six hits against Jones went for extra bases, including Hunter Goodman’s solo home run in the third inning that opened the scoring.

Following the game, the frustration from Jones was palpable.

“It was just bad. A really bad day,” Jones said.

Jones did admit that some of the issues that frequently seem to plague pitchers at Coors Field did impact his night on Saturday.

“That part hurt me a little bit today,” Jones said. “Threw a couple of pitches and balls were put in play that I thought I was going to be a fly ball out and they ended up going over the wall. I’m a four-seam guy and try to get pop fly outs and that kind of stuff just happens.”

Now comes the next part for Jones, and that’s shaking off the frustration from Denver before his next start. Saturday was the second rough road start for Jones, who has given up 13 runs (11 earned) through 9.0 combined innings.

Ad – content continues below

“Not letting this one get to my head,” Jones said about the key to bouncing back. “Everyone has their bad days and today was a really bad day for me. It’s about going out there and trusting my stuff for whenever the next one is.”

Plans for the Pirates rotation

Skenes was originally rumored to start the Father’s Day matchup against the Rockies, but was pushed back to take the mound when the Pirates return home on Monday to face the Cincinnati Reds.

The decision had nothing to do with Skenes throwing at altitude (which likely would have felt quite comfortable to him after pitching for a pair of seasons at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs) but rather a plan that Shelton has in place for his starting pitchers as the heat of summer begins to set in.

“I think we’re trying to give all our guys an extra day,” Shelton said. “It’s not only managing innings for our younger guys, but for all of our guys, period. Mitch (Keller) just came off (Thursday) where it was 100 degrees and he gave us six innings, so giving him an extra day of recovery, giving Bailey (Falter) an extra day of recovery.

“Any time we can get an extra day for our group, we will try to do that.”

Jones, who started on Saturday night in Colorado, will be the beneficiary of an extra day of rest this coming week thanks to Pittsburgh’s upcoming day off on Thursday.

Ad – content continues below