Well, Gerrit Cole, it seems your spot in the rotation is safe for a while. The Pirates provided updates on their many injured pitchers:
- Wandy Rodriguez has been shut down from pitching after continuing to feel left forearm tightness in a throwing session yesterday. He will be evaluated by the team’s medical staff to “determine the next steps,” the team said.
- Minor league pitchers Kyle McPherson and Phil Irwin (right elbow pain) have both been shut down as well.
- On the opposite end, A.J. Burnett (right calf strain) threw 38 pitches out of the bullpen Friday and the team is “happy with his progress,” manager Clint Hurdle said. Burnett is scheduled to throw a simulated game Tuesday that will test his ability to field and cover first base.
- Reliever Jared Hughes (right shoulder inflammation) also threw a 25-pitch bullpen session Friday “without incident” and will throw another on Tuesday.
- James McDonald (right shoulder discomfort) will not immediately see Dr. James Andrews. Instead, McDonald will get a “second opinion” from Dr. Keith Meister, the Texas Rangers’ head team physician. A scout I spoke with said it is not unusual for a pitcher to seek an opinion from another team’s physician, and Meister has his own sports medicine practice in Dallas.
It appears Burnett is not be far from returning to the Pirates’ rotation, where he would likely be joined by Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano, Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke.
Snider Gets A Day Off
Travis Snider is not in the lineup Saturday night against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Pirates’ left fielder exited after the 6th inning Friday with a right foot contusion, and Hurdle is giving him a day to “recover.”
Jose Tabata (left oblique strain) will not start for the Indianapolis Indians on Saturday. He has played six games in the last eight days on his rehab assignment and is expected to play nine innings Sunday. My guess is fans should expect him back in Pittsburgh soon, as Hurdle said Tabata is “moving forward very, very good.”
“A lot of people didn’t care”
Hurdle got very animated when asked about controlling the hype surrounding his team, currently holding baseball’s best record. He leaned forward from his chair and raised his voice when discussing the state of the club. He even admitted he is turning down more media requests than usual.
“I don’t need to talk to everyone who needs a thought right now about the Pittsburgh Pirates,” Hurdle said. “Because a lot of these people didn’t care about the Pittsburgh Pirates for the first two years [of his managerial stint].”
The manager added that fans that are skeptical of the team’s success should “stay tuned,” but he hears from a lot of people waiting for a downturn.
“Some people just don’t want to be happy,” Hurdle said. “It’s almost like they’d rather have something to complain about than something to embrace.”
You can read Hurdle’s comments in full from David Manel at Bucs Dugout. It’s worth the click.
Save Tonight (Plus a Bit More)
Tony Watson has 2 two-inning saves this year. Ryan Reid picked up a three-inning save for the Pirates on Friday night, the fourth-longest save of the 2013 season and an accomplishment that is going the way of the bullpen cart and the hand-operated scoreboard.
Major League pitchers are on pace to total just 67 saves longer than one inning this season, which would break the “record” for fewest multiple-inning saves of 82 set in 2011. The total for most saves of longer than an inning was 598, set in 1984. The save became an official statistic in 1969.
Tip o’ my cap to Baseball-Reference’s Play Index for that note.
Pittsburgh Pirates (49-30, MLB’s best record)
- LF Starling Marte (.287, 8 HR)
- C Russell Martin (.244, 8 HR)
- CF Andrew McCutchen (.293, 9 HR)
- RF Garrett Jones (.259)
- 3B Pedro Alvarez (.246, 19 HR)
- 2B Neil Walker (.254)
- 1B Gaby Sanchez (.243)
- SS Jordy Mercer (.285)
- LHP Francisco Liriano (54.2 IP, 61 K, 22 BB, 2.30 ERA)
Milwaukee Brewers (32-46, 16.5 games back of Pirates)
- 2B Rickie Weeks (.236, 8 HR)
- SS Jean Segura (.334, 11 HR)
- CF Carlos Gomez (.314, 12 HR)
- 3B Aramis Ramirez (.275)
- C Jonathan Lucroy (.274, 8 HR)
- 1B Yuniesky Betancourt (.203, 8 HR)
- RF Sean Halton (1-for-2, first MLB start)
- LF Logan Schafer (.220)
- RHP Donovan Hand (19 IP, 12 K, 3 BB, 2.37 ERA)