Pirates notebook: Starter Rodriguez feels pain, to see specialist Andrews

Travis Sawchik
| Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 9:18 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO — Wandy Rodriguez will meet with renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews next week after feeling more pain in his left elbow during his simulated game Thursday in San Francisco.

The Pirates' rehabbing starter, who has not pitched since June 5 because of an elbow injury, has dealt with soreness throughout his throwing program and complained of more discomfort after his bullpen session Monday in San Diego. Rodriguez was going to attempt to throw breaking balls for the first time since his injury Thursday.

Pirates medical staff believed the pain was caused from inflammation, Rodriguez said Tuesday.

Rodriguez was not in the clubhouse prior to Thursday's game, and Pirates manager Clint Hurdle declined to address his status.

Rodriguez went 6-4 with a 3.59 ERA before injuring his elbow. He appears very much in jeopardy of not returning this season.

Rodriguez has a $14 million player option for 2014. If Andrews finds significant damage to Rodriguez's elbow, the majority of his 2014 season also could be in jeopardy.

Grilled Cheese nearly ready

While the Pirates did not receive good news from Rodriguez's throwing session Thursday, the club is pleased with closer Jason Grilli's progress.

Grilli (flexor strain) threw a 25-pitch bullpen session prior to Thursday's game and reported no pain.

Grilli said he threw his fastball and breaking ball.

“It was good. I was very pleased with getting back on the bump again,” Grilli said. “Being healthy, now it's just fine tuning and getting ready for game action. ... I'm not trying to push the envelope, but I know how it feels. And you go on feel, not necessarily a protocol. (There's) no pain.”

Grilli said he hopes to be “game ready” by the end of the month.

Does that mean he hopes to be pitching in a major league game?

“I don't know what the next progression is. I don't know what they are going to let me do,” Grilli said.

“I've been pushing it as hard as I can without throwing caution to the wind.”

Hurdle did not offer a timetable.

“It was a very good day,” Hurdle said. “We'll talk to him (Friday) and see what we want to do next whether it's another sim game another bullpen, we'll see. He's moving forward at a good pace.”

Marte improving

Pirates outfielder Starling Marte's right hand contusion is improving, according to Hurdle. Hurdle indicated Marte is not a candidate for the disabled list.

“I think Marte is on the edge of coming back,” Hurdle said.

Jose Tabata also was back in the lineup in left field Thursday after missing Wednesday's game with knee tendonitis.

Cole could be skipped

In an effort to decrease his workload, Gerrit Cole might not take his next scheduled turn in the rotation, which would be Tuesday at home against Milwaukee.

Cole already has had one start pushed back earlier this month and has thrown 146 innings between Triple-A and the majors this season after throwing 150 professional innings in 2012.

“We are still formulating a plan for after the off day (Monday),” Hurdle said. “We want to pretty much get through the next two outings to see where we stand.”

Hurdle said it

Hurdle thinks the baseball-related atmosphere in Pittsburgh has a chance to rival that of San Francisco with continued success.

“When you play good baseball people come out,” Hurdle said. “Our fans have been awesome. Now you are going to feel the energy in the ballpark, the synergy downtown and how it's spider-webbed out to the suburbs.”

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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