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Pirates notebook: Rodriguez still making progress

| Monday, Aug. 19, 2013, 8:42 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pirates starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez throws against the Reds on Friday, May 31, 2013, at PNC Park.

SAN DIEGO — The Pirates are inching closer to improving their starting rotation.

Left-handed starter Wandy Rodriguez (elbow) was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Monday at Petco Park in San Diego. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said the next step is for Rodriguez to throw a simulated game Thursday in San Francisco.

Rodriguez threw 30 pitches in his first simulated game Friday in Pittsburgh. Hurdle said he was limited to throwing his fastball and changeup.

Hurdle said Rodriguez, who has not pitched in a game since June 5, is scheduled to throw 40 pitches in San Francisco if his Monday bullpen session went without issue. In San Francisco, Hurdle said the hope is for Rodriguez to mix in his breaking ball.

Hurdle hopes Rodriguez can make a rehab start before the minor league seasons conclude.

“We'd like to get him in a game situation because that's the best way to prepare him to come back and get built up,” Hurdle said.

Grilli's throwing program

Closer Jason Grilli (elbow) was also scheduled to throw from 120 feet Monday, but there was no immediate word on how his throwing session went. Hurdle said Grilli could return to throwing off a mound if the session went well.

Marte out of lineup

Starling Marte was not in the starting lineup Monday due to a right hand contusion, an injury he sustained Sunday. Josh Harrison batted leadoff and played right field. Jose Tabata got the start in left.

Snider's rehab

Pirates outfielder Travis Snider (toe) made his first rehab start Monday at Double-A Altoona, going 1 for 3 with a run scored. Snider had not played in a game since July 27. There is no timetable for his return.

Snider went on the disabled list last month with what he described as a turf toe-like condition, which he said hampered him for more than a month. Perhaps one way for the Pirates to improve their right field production — they're tied with the Mariners for last in OPS (.671) at the position — is to field a healthy Snider.

Hurdle said Snider's toe has improved, but further stress tests are needed before the team considers activating him.

“He's good to go. He wants to see how good he is to go,” Hurdle said. “He's going to need to play.

“He's going to need to get at-bats. We've done all the testing, the running. He's taken BP. He's shagged fly balls. He needs to hit in the box, get down the line, get secondary leads and get breaks.”

Reid joins bullpen

The Pirates called up right-handed pitcher Ryan Reid on Monday from Triple-A Indianapolis.

The Pirates optioned pitcher Kris Johnson to Triple-A.

The Pirates' pitching staff was taxed by a 16-inning game with Arizona on Sunday.

Reid has appeared in seven games with the Pirates this season and has a 1.64 ERA.

Odds and ends

Pirates right-handed starter James McDonald is still struggling to return from a shoulder injury. McDonald allowed two runs, two hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning Monday during a rookie-level Gulf Coast League outing. … Pirates president Frank Coonelly and general manager Neal Huntington are with the team in San Diego.

Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at tsawchik@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.

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