It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Chris Stewart back with the Pirates on Friday. Stewart has played two full games the last two days while rehabbing with Indianapolis. The Pirates usually have players play two or three games at nine full innings before they’re ready to return. Clint Hurdle said that the reports are “very positive” on Stewart’s rehab, and that he has experienced no setbacks.
“I spoke with Dean Treanor today at length on Chris,” Hurdle said. “I’ll speak with him tonight after the game or tomorrow morning, because we were going to convene with Chris on a phone conversation, just to see where he is in the off-day tomorrow.”
If Stewart does return on Friday, then the expectation would be that Tony Sanchez will go down. That might have been signaled last night when A.J. Burnett threw to Francisco Cervelli. Prior to that, Burnett had mostly thrown to Sanchez, including many of his Spring Training outings and his B Game appearances at Pirate City (other pitchers usually just threw to Elias Diaz in those games).
Morton Pitching on Saturday
Charlie Morton pitched a side session today, and is going to pitch an extended Spring Training game on Saturday against the Yankees, Clint Hurdle said. The plan is to get him 3-4 innings, with a pitch count of 55.
“Very good bullpen today, Ray reviewed the video,” Hurdle said. “From the times he’s thrown on the side, he like what’s in place and now we’re going to move it forward to get him in a little more competitive situation.”
Going by the normal progression for rehab pitchers, Morton could need 3-4 starts before he’s ready, gradually increasing his inning totals each time out. I wouldn’t expect him back in Pittsburgh before the start of May.