Steven Brault is a clear representation of the amount of pitching depth in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization.
Temporarily gone but should not be forgotten
Pitchers such as Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow and Chad Kuhl have highlighted the field of top pitching prospects in the Pirates organization; however, the name Steven Brault should not be forgotten.
The Class-AAA Indianapolis Indians have a total team ERA of 3.15 this season, which ranks as the best in the International League. Before Brault sustained a strained hamstring on May 8, he was a huge part of the team’s pitching success, going 1-2 with a 2.70 ERA in six starts.
Throughout the early stages of his rehabilitation process, Brault had been in Indianapolis, pitching two simulated games, one of two innings and one of three innings.
Now, Steven Brault has begun the next step on the road back to the Indians rotation, beginning a rehab assignment for the West Virginia Black Bears, the Short Season Single-A affiliate for the Pirates.
No Signs of Rust
For the first time in over a month, Brault took the mound in an actual game for the Black Bears Monday, allowing one hit through four shutout innings while striking out five. Brault threw 40 of his 53 pitches for strikes, which was and always has been a key to success for the 24-year old left hander.
“The main worry of doing the rehab start when you first get back into it is ‘What if I do horrible and I don’t even get through four innings?’. So then you’re pushing back your rehab and you feel miserable about it,” Brault said. “It’s nice to be able to come in and be able to throw strikes because that’s what I do and that’s how I’m going to be effective. It’s good to have that already there and I can build forward on that.”
Brault also took the opportunity that his first rehab start brought to work on his delivery and become comfortable with it once again.[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”#000000″ class=”” size=””]”The only pitch I really had a problem with at points was my slider,” Brault said. “It was giving me a little bit of trouble just because it’s hard to kind of get everything back, all timing together at the same time. Just being able to figure out every pitch individually, but overall I felt good.”[/perfectpullquote]
Though the top priority for Brault is getting healthy, he also remains excited to finally get the rehab assignment underway and looks forward to returning to Indianapolis and being able to contribute at a higher level.
“It’s like a weight off your shoulders, cause you wanna be there (Indianapolis) and it sucks sitting on the sidelines and watching your team, especially a team like the Indians,” Brault said. “They’re doing really well now and I just wish I could be with them, but it’s nice to get the first one out of the way and know that I’m building on it.”
According to Brault, the injury to his hamstring was diagnosed as a “strain” since it didn’t tear all the way. However, the MRI’s showed that the injury was significant enough to keep him out for a longer period of time.
Despite Brault’s injury being a lower body ailment, it still affects him on the mound in various ways. However, his recovery time has been shorter compared to that of an arm injury.
“You use your legs more than you use your arm, really,” Brault said. “It’s not as bad obviously. If you have arm problems as a pitcher, it takes a longer time to come back. As a pitcher, hurting a hamstring, you can come back pretty quick as long as you do the rehab and everything. It’s fortunate that it was that, but still it’s too much time, even more time than you want to take off.”
Not Too Far Behind?
Former Indians such as Taillon and Wilfredo Boscan have already made their major league debuts, while Glasnow and Kuhl are anxiously awaiting their call from Triple-A Indianapolis to the show. Despite missing over a month, Steven Brault may not be too far behind. However, at the moment, he has his sights set on playing and reuniting with a major league caliber group of pitchers in Indianapolis once again.
“It’s something most players don’t get to do because we’re in a rotation that we feel everybody has the ability to be effective at the major league level,” Brault said. “It’s an amazing experience to be able to learn from them, to be able to bounce ideas off each other and be able to help each other. I can’t wait to go back and rejoin that rotation.”
Brault will make one more start for the Black Bears on Saturday before returning to the starting rotation in Indianapolis.
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