Pittsburgh Pirates' Henry Davis walks to the dugout after striking...

Pittsburgh Pirates' Henry Davis walks to the dugout after striking out during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Sunday, April 28, 2024, in San Francisco. Credit: AP/Godofredo A. Vásquez

PITTSBURGH — Henry Davis will try to work out of his early season funk in the minors.

The Pittsburgh Pirates optioned the former first-overall pick to Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday and activated catcher Yasmani Grandal off the injured list.

Davis is hitting just .162 with no home runs and four RBIs in 23 games for Pittsburgh. The 24-year-old, the top selection in the 2021 amateur draft, has struck out 29 times in 83 at-bats.

The Pirates drafted Davis as a catcher but he spent the vast majority of his rookie season in 2023 working in right field and as a designated hitter. He has worked almost exclusively at catcher this season in part because of injuries to Endy Rodriguez and Grandal, who signed a one-year deal in February.

Davis has been passable defensively but the power he showed flashes of last year has vanished. Only three of his 11 hits went for extra bases and his slugging percentage is a woeful .206.

“With Grandal coming off the injured list, it’s a chance for Henry to catch his breath a little bit,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. "I think the thing that we know about Henry is that he’s probably one of the hardest workers I’ve been around at the major-league level. He’s going to go down there with a task and work on it.”

Grandal, 35, missed most of spring training with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. The two-time All-Star hit .257 (9-for-35) with two doubles, a home run and 11 RBI in nine games while rehabbing in Indianapolis.

The Pirates have cooled off following a strong start. Pittsburgh entered Friday night's game against Colorado, losing 13 of 16. The offense has been the biggest problem. The Pirates have scored two runs or less 12 times during their slide.

"He will continue to help with our pitch sequencing and our planning because he’s been here with the exception of his time in Indy,” Shelton said of Grandal. “He gives us a left-handed hitter, with him being a switch hitter. I think there’s a lot of things that he brings.”

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