Pirates 'ran out of time,' choose not to activate Oneil Cruz

PITTSBURGH -- Oneil Cruz's season officially ended on Tuesday, when Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton announced the club wants the shortstop to continue his rehabilitation into the offseason.

Speaking before the Pirates' 5-1 win over the Washington Nationals, Shelton told reporters that club management made the decision this week. The hope, for most of the season, was Cruz, 24, would return from his broken left ankle in September and close out the season with his teammates.

"We got together over the last couple days and basically started talking about it. You guys know what the calendar is. We're running out of days," Shelton said. "With an injury that happened that long ago, being able to do the proper rehab process, we got to the point where we ran out of time."

Cruz's left leg rolled up underneath him after he collided with Chicago White Sox catcher Seby Zavala on April 9. He had surgery the next day, and the team first thought he'd miss four months. As the summer wore on, that return date continued to be pushed back, though Cruz remained with the team and was a fixture in the dugout.

"The rehab is continuing to go well," Shelton said. "Now, I just think we have to figure out how we're going to facilitate the offseason."

A burgeoning star, in an organization full of prospects, Cruz, along with 26-year-old third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes, is viewed as occupying the left side of the infield for years to come in Pittsburgh. He was batting .250 with a home run and four RBIs, at the time of the injury, and the Pirates were off to a 6-3 start.

They cooled off in the summer, and traded away several of their aging veterans at the trade deadline. Tuesday's win gave Shelton's club a 67-78 record.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.