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Pirates notebook: Rodriguez close to rehab start

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Wandy Rodriguez sits in the dugout during a game against the Diamondbacks on Friday, Aug. 16, 2013 at PNC Park.

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Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013, 9:30 p.m.

SAN DIEGO — Pirates rehabbing starter Wandy Rodriguez hopes to make a minor league rehab start next week.

Rodriguez (elbow) is scheduled to throw a simulated game Thursday in San Francisco, where he will throw breaking balls for the first time since his June 5 injury. Rodriguez said the next step would be a bullpen session Sunday in San Francisco, and a rehab start would follow if no setbacks occurred.

The majority of minor league seasons wrap up Sept. 1 or 2, but the Pirates expect to have several affiliates playing in the postseason.

Rodriguez felt some discomfort after his bullpen session Monday in San Diego. But Rodriguez said he has felt discomfort throughout his throwing program and intends to pitch through the soreness.

“(Throughout) my process I feel, I don't feel great, 100 percent,” Rodriguez said. “I feel something, but I can throw. … If everything goes well (later this week), I go to rehab next week. I need to throw two starts.”

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said the first time Rodriguez alerted the team of any discomfort was after his bullpen session Monday. Rodriguez told reporters he still was experiencing soreness last month in Miami.

“It's a new development,” Hurdle said. “He didn't talk about feeling it after his simulated game at home (Friday). The first time he mentioned it was (Monday). You would like him to be pain-free. He's not sure what he feels right now. We'll pitch him again Thursday and see what other comments or feelings he might have.”

Rodriguez has been checked out by team doctors and was told he is experiencing some inflammation. He said he believes he can continue to pitch through the discomfort.

“I am trying to get back,” Rodriguez said. “I don't want to miss the season. I want to get back and help my team.”

Marte scratched

Pirates outfielder Starling Marte (hand) was scratched from Tuesday's lineup. Marte said he threw and took some swings Tuesday but still was experiencing pain. Marte had the ring and pinky fingers of his right hand stepped on Sunday when sliding headfirst into third. He did not play Monday. Marte said he was available off the bench Tuesday. Jose Tabata started in left field for the Pirates.

“(Marte's) day to day,” Hurdle said.

Grilli progressing

Hurdle said rehabbing closer Jason Grilli's throwing session went well Monday, and he said it was possible he could pitch off a slope or halfway up the mound Tuesday.

“Grilli is doing well,” Hurdle said. “He's moving forward in a very good fashion.”

Hurdle didn't have an updated timetable on when Grilli might be able to return to game action.

“I know you're anxious to get that out. I can't help you,” Hurdle said.

Pepper games

Hurdle said James McDonald's struggles Monday in a rookie-level rehab outing were not related to injury. … The Pirates are encouraged by Travis Snider's rehab appearance Monday in Double-A. He went 1 for 3 and moved well in the outfield.

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

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