Injury Update: Wandy takes another step forward

Prior to today’s game, left-handed starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez completed a simulated game that saw him throw five innings and 67 pitches. It’s another step for the lefty, who hasn’t pitched in a game since he left a start on June 5 with tightness in his forearm.

Rodriguez’s initial diagnosis was simply inflammation in his elbow, which he has had before and spent time on the 15-day disabled list previously in his career. This injury was different though, as Rodriguez said earlier that he had arthritis in his pitching arm.

It seems the concerns with arthritis have subsided for the time being though, as Rodriguez looks like he’s getting closer to a return. Prior to this simulated game, Hurdle said it would be an “indicator” about where the Pirates will go with him next. By all accounts, it seems his start is likely a good indicator.

Wandy Rodriguez appears to be closing in on a return to active duty, likely out of the Pirates' bullpen.

Wandy Rodriguez appears to be closing in on a return to active duty, likely out of the Pirates’ bullpen.

What’s interesting about the simulated game is that Rodriguez threw five innings, while it was widely assumed his return would see him in a bullpen role because the Pirates have said they just don’t have enough time to stretch Rodriguez out in preparation for him to start. At the very least, this  simulated game is an indication Rodriguez is being prepped as a long-man out of the bullpen but time will tell.

  • Charlie Morton

It looks like the Pirates’ sinker-baller is on track to make his start tomorrow, after he left his last start against the Cardinals in the second  inning with discomfort in his left foot. Morton is listed in the Pirates’ game notes as tomorrow’s starter, and Hurdle says he is good to go.

“He said he’s good to go and he was gonna go out and pitch, and have some fun and stay with the plan and program that he’s been running out there with,” Hurdle said. “We’ll give him that opportunity.”

  • Starling Marte

Marte made his return to the active roster, but is yet to swing a bat in live action. Hurdle said pre-game Marte took some swings against Rodriguez earlier today, but when Marte will return to the starting lineup is unknown.

“I mean physically, he’s gonna run. We got him in the game yesterday playing defense, his throwing’s back in place,” Hurdle said. “The last piece is swinging the bat aggressively, and he’s going out there today to do that.”

How he swung the bat today won’t likely be known until tomorrow, but the sooner Marte can return, the better the Pirates will instantly be. With Marte back at the top of the lineup, Hurdle has another layer of versatility and skill in his lineup that’s looking a lot more formidable in the final stretch of 2013.

Author: Nate Barnes

Nate covers the Pirates beat for Pirates Prospects, and is an English Writing major at the University of Pittsburgh. Nate has covered the Pirates for Pittsburgh Sports Report, and covered Pitt Men's Basketball, Duquesne Men's Basketball, and Pitt Baseball beats prior to this summer. You can find Nate on Twitter @NateBarnes_ where he'll keep you updated on each and every time Clint Barmes breaks up a no-hit bid with one-out in the third inning of ballgames.

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