The 2014 season has been a mighty struggle indeed for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Coming off a thrilling run to the 2013 playoffs, they found themselves struggling to get anything going in the right direction for the first few months of 2014; now that they finally have their record pointed the right direction (29-32 on the season, 6-4 in their last 10 games), they receive bad news about their best young pitcher.
Cole will be eligible to come off the disabled list on June 19 because the move is retroactive to June 4.
Cole was not available in the pre-game clubhouse, and Pirates manager Clint Hurdle declined to further address Cole’s status. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington is expected to address Cole’s situation later this afternoon.
The concern about Cole stemmed from a dip in velocity in his most recent start. Manager Clint Hurdle had the following to say about the situation:
“I think fatigue is the proper word. I think if you look at the season he had with us last year, the run he went on with us late, we really feel it’s fatigue.”
Cole threw 117 innings for the Pirates last season. In 12 starts in 2014, he had a solid 6-3 record, 3.64 ERA, and an 8.1 K/9 mark. According to the pitchF/X data from TexasLeaguers.com, Cole’s average fastball velocity for the season sits at 95.6 MPH. In the start in question against the San Diego Padres, however, the Pirates saw enough to be concerned and shut their 23-year-old ace down for a while.
Shoulder injuries are often more troubling for pitchers than elbow injuries, a fact that has been lost in the rash of Tommy John operations this season. The Pirates will hope that this proactive move to shut Cole down can prevent something more serious.