NEW YORK — The Pirates will place right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole on the 15-day disabled with with a right triceps strain and will recall right-handed pitcher Jameson Taillon from Triple-A Indianapolis to take Cole’s scheduled start Tuesday night.
Cole left his last start against the St. Louis Cardinals after two-plus innings on Friday due to discomfort in his right triceps. Cole’s disabled list stint will be retroactive to his last start, meaning that he will be eligible to return June 25.
The team did not give a further prognosis or a potential return date for Cole. He has been the Pirates’ most-effective starting pitcher this season, with a 2.77 ERA in 12 starts, but Tim Williams wrote today that his secondary numbers tell a more-complete story.
Taillon, 24, will make his second Major League start. He pitched six innings and gave up three runs in his big-league debut against the New York Mets last Wednesday and was the scheduled starter Tuesday night for Indianapolis.
Taillon performed well in his first start with Pittsburgh and has a 2.04 ERA in 10 starts in Triple-A this season.
UPDATE 4:56 PM: Updates from Tim Williams…
Clint Hurdle met with the media at Citi Field before today’s game, discussing the decision to place Cole on the disabled list and call Taillon up.
“I really kind of left that up to the training staff and the doctors involved and Gerrit,” Cole said on the first decision. “It got to the point where this next start was out of the question. That being said, now that you’ve got some days to play with, why jeopardize anything else? Just back it off and give him some time where he can take advantage of the time down, and we can re-create the throwing program as we’ve done in the past, and look for an efficient return.”
Cole was back-dated to June 11th, which means he is eligible to return on June 26th. On his regular five day schedule, he would have made just two starts between now and that date. With the first one already ruled out, it makes sense to give him a little extra time to get fully healthy. As for Taillon, the start today means he will get at least three starts in the big leagues before Cole returns.
Cole wasn’t available to the media today, but he and Head Athletic Trainer Todd Tomczyk will speak to the media tomorrow before the game.
Taillon was originally set to start today for Indianapolis, and the Pirates decided to keep him on his same schedule, while pushing Jeff Locke back to tomorrow, and having Juan Nicasio start on Thursday. Hurdle praised Taillon’s MLB debut, which also came against the Mets last week.
“Overall, we were all pleased with the level of competition he brought to the match, the pitches he was able to throw, the tempo and the pace with which he worked with,” Hurdle said. “It will be another good opportunity for him. It’s a good ball club. He’s pitching on the road. These guys have seen him once, and he’s seen them once.”
Taillon would also line up to face the Cubs on the road on Sunday, and the Dodgers at home on Friday, giving him a challenging way to continue the start of his MLB career. He showed signs that he was ready to be up for good the last time around. This tough schedule will give him the chance to further show that he’s ready, and unless he gets hammered in the next few outings, I can’t see how the Pirates could justify sending him back down.
Here is the lineup for tonight’s game:
As an additional note, the Pirates have released left-handed pitcher Robert Zarate, who spent the entire year so far on the Triple-A disabled list, after getting an invite to MLB Spring Training.