Pirates' Chris Archer undergoes hernia surgery, expected to be ready for opening day 2019

Offseason injuries are never a good this but it appears Chris Archer and the Pittsburgh Pirates have gotten off easy. Tuesday evening the Pirates announced Archer underwent surgery to repair a hernia, and he is expected to be ready in time for opening day 2019 or close to it.

The six-week recovery timetable will cut into Archer's normal offseason preparation but it should have him ready to go without restrictions come mid January. The Pirates figure to take it slow with the veteran right-hander early in spring training just to be extra cautious. There's no reason to push it in February and March.

Archer, 30, was acquired in a trade deadline deal that sent highly regarded youngsters Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow and Shane Baz to the Tampa Bay Rays. In 10 starts after the trade, Archer pitched to a 4.30 ERA (91 ERA+) with 60 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings. His ERA has gone from 3.23 to 4.02 to 4.07 to 4.31 over the last four seasons.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Pittsburgh Pirates
Hernia surgery is not expected to cost Chris Archer much time, if any, next season. USATSI

Thanks to early season off-days, the Pirates could push Archer's first start as far back as April 7, their ninth game of the 2019 regular season, without needing a replacement fifth starter. Pittsburgh's rotation depth chart currently looks like this, with the caveat that there is still a lot offseason to go:

  1. Jameson Taillon
  2. Chris Archer
  3. Trevor Williams
  4. Ivan Nova
  5. Joe Musgrove
  6. Nick Kingham

A driving force behind the trade was Archer's team friendly contract. The Pirates will pay him $7.67 million in 2019 and they hold affordable club options for 2020 ($9 million) and 2021 ($11 million). With the exception of Nova, who is entering his walk year, the Pirates control every member of their rotation through at least 2021.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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