The Pittsburgh Pirates are fighting a bout of injuries as they try to fight their way up a crowded NL Central. After losing reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen to injury, the team appears to be on life support, despite being only a game and a half back of division-leading Milwaukee. Help may be on the way though, according to manager Clint Hurdle, who said ace pitcher Gerrit Cole is doing well in his rehab stint.
“He feels good,” Hurdle told Andrew Sawchik at Trib-Live Sports. “He wanted to let me know he felt he was in a good place.”
Cole allowed 10 hits and five runs in 41⁄3 innings in a Tuesday appearance, which doesn’t seem great, but Hurdle stressed that Cole’s start was more about following a certain protocol than it was about trying his best to get outs.
“It was a geared-down game for him,” Hurdle said. “We gave him a couple goals going in. We wanted him to repeat his delivery and maintain arm slot. … The bigger picture is we need to put this stuff in place this time out and not be reactionary to what results we might not get.”
Cole hasn’t pitched in the MLB in over a month and the Pirates appear to be in no hurry to rush the 23-year-old former first overall pick. This is a team that’s clearly still keeping an eye on the future and this season will take a back seat to that vision, no matter how close they stand to the playoffs. When Gerrit Cole is ready to start once more, expect to see him on the mound trying to propel the Pirates’ season and keep the team in the NL playoff race.