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Pirates temporarily shut down Rodriguez

| Saturday, June 29, 2013, 5:09 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Wandy Rodriguez was shut down by the team on Saturday, June 29, 2013, because he experienced tightness in his left forearm.

Wandy Rodriguez is still experiencing tightness in his left forearm and will not be permitted to throw, the Pirates announced Saturday.

Rodriguez went on the 15-day disabled list June 11, retroactive to June 6.

According to the Pirates, he felt sore during a rehab start with Triple-A Indianapolis on June 23 when he pitched four innings and gave up one run, four hits, one walk and struck out five. He was scheduled to throw a bullpen session at PNC Park on Friday, but that was moved to Saturday because pitching coach Ray Searage was dealing with a personal matter and didn't arrive at the ballpark until shortly before game time.

Rodriguez's session was canceled.

“We're having a discussion right now about what's next,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He didn't feel good.”

Rodriguez last pitched for the Pirates on June 5, when he came out of the game against the Atlanta Braves after just one-third of an inning. He is 6-4 this season with a 3.59 ERA.

Cole's status

Rodriguez's setback should quell any concerns about Gerrit Cole being sent back to Triple-A Indianapolis. Cole won his fourth start Friday and is the only other No. 1 overall pick since baseball's draft started in 1965 to win each of his first four big league starts. Ben McDonald won his first five with the Orioles in 1990.

Irwin, McPherson shelved

Rodriguez isn't the only pitcher the Pirates announced they're shutting down Saturday. Phil Irwin experienced discomfort in his right elbow during his last throwing session, and Kyle McPherson had pain in his right elbow and forearm during his last bullpen session. Like Rodriguez, Irwin and McPherson will be evaluated by the team's medical staff to determine where to go from here.

Injury update

There was some good news on the Pirates' injury front. A.J. Burnett (right calf strain) threw 28 pitches in his bullpen session Friday. Everything went well, so he is scheduled to pitch a simulated game at PNC Park on Tuesday. Reliever Jared Hughes (right shoulder inflammation) also threw a 25-pitch bullpen session Friday without incident and will throw another bullpen Tuesday.

McDonald's status

James McDonald, whose rehab assignment expired Wednesday, will see Dr. Keith Meister in Dallas next week for a second opinion rather than wait to see Dr. James Andrews, with whom there was a scheduling conflict.

3 draft picks sign

The Pirates signed another three players from the 2013 draft, bringing the total to 22. High school outfielder Nick Buckner (14th round) and high school right-hander Billy Roth (16th round) will report to the GCL Pirates. Auburn left-hander Will Kendall is assigned to Low-A West Virginia.

Deal or no deal?

Asked whether he'd be OK if the Pirates didn't make a move at the trade deadline, Hurdle said you can always add team strength.

“We have a good team,” he said. “You love how these guys have figured something out together and how everyone has everyone else's back. I like what we have, but then you never know. You pay attention to chemistry and then just try to do the right thing.”

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at kprice@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

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