ShareThis Page

Pirates notebook: Rehabbing pitchers could give rotation a boost

Rob Biertempfel
| Thursday, May 1, 2014, 7:54 p.m.
Pirates pitcher Wandy Rodriguez stands on the mound after giving up a run during the third inning against the Brewers on Saturday, April 189 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Wandy Rodriguez stands on the mound after giving up a run during the third inning against the Brewers on Saturday, April 189 2014, at PNC Park.

BALTIMORE — Wandy Rodriguez was far from dazzling Thursday in his rehab outing with Double-A Altoona, which could open the door for Jeff Locke's return to the majors.

If Rodriguez's gimpy right knee feels good Friday, he could rejoin the Pirates' rotation next week in time for his next start. He is eligible to come off the disabled list Monday.

Locke pitched Thursday, a day earlier than he was originally scheduled, for Triple-A Indianapolis. It seems likely he will be recalled sometime during the nine-game homestand that begins Friday.

The starting pitching could be adjusted for Rodriguez's status, the doubleheader Thursday against the Baltimore Orioles, and uncertainty about Francisco Liriano, who left his last start with nosebleed-induced dizziness.

In his rehab start Thursday at Erie, Rodriguez pitched 3 13 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) and four hits. The left-hander walked three, struck out three and threw 74 pitches (48 strikes).

“Wandy reported he felt fine after (the game),” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “We'll have to wait until we see him (Friday). The last time that this flared up, it flared up the day after he pitched.”

Locke pitched two innings Thursday against Pawtucket and allowed two runs and three hits.

Locke opened the season on the disabled list because of an oblique injury. He was sent to Indy as soon as he was activated and has a 5.68 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP in four starts.

Here comes the judge

Travis Snider's appeal of his two-game suspension will be heard Tuesday. Russell Martin's appeal of his one-game suspension also will be heard next week. Snider and Martin were punished for their roles in an on-field brawl against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 20 at PNC Park.

Martin is on the DL because of a strained left hamstring and will be eligible to return May 11. If upheld, his suspension can't begin until after Martin comes off the DL.

Feeling a draft

The Pirates will make three picks among the first 74 selections in the MLB Draft, which will be June 5-7.

The order is based on reverse order of last season's finish. The Pirates hold picks Nos. 24, 64 and 73 (competitive-balance pick) in the first two rounds, No. 100 (third round) and No. 131 (fourth round).

Upon further review

According to MLB, instant replay review was used 191 times in April. There were 85 calls overturned, 53 standing, 50 confirmed and three uses for record-keeping. A standing call means there wasn't clear and convincing evidence to force a change. The average length of a review was two minutes, six seconds.

Around the horn

Because it was a traditional, single-admission doubleheader Thursday, the Pirates and Orioles were not allowed to add a 26th player to their rosters. ... Orioles reliever Evan Meek still keeps tabs on the Pirates, for whom he pitched from 2008-12. He was excited for his old mates last year when the Pirates made the playoffs. “That was fantastic to see,” said Meek, who is close friends with Pirates closer Jason Grilli. ... Infielder Robert Andino was activated from the disabled list at Indianapolis. ... Giants right-hander Matt Cain is slated to start Monday against the Pirates. Cain was scratched from his last start after cutting his finger while making a sandwich.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.