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Pirates notebook: Cole to throw side session Sunday

| Friday, June 13, 2014, 7:06 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole watches action from the dugout during a game against the Brewers Sunday, June, 8, 2014, at PNC Park.

MIAMI — Before leaving for the weekend series in Miami, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was approached in his Hampton Township subdivision by a curious neighbor.

“It is kind of funny. A neighbor in my neighborhood said ‘So, you shut (Gerrit) Cole down with shoulder fatigue?' I said ‘Yeah,' ” Hurdle said. “He goes ‘He just threw like three days in a row … isn't that weird?' I said ‘Yeah, it kind of is. But he didn't throw for four days (prior). It's kind of a progression.' ”

The Pirates hope Cole will continue to throw this weekend. Hurdle said the next step in Cole's progression to returning from the disabled list is a side session scheduled for Sunday at Marlins Park. The Pirates hope Cole can return quickly when he is eligible to come off the disabled list June 19.

“I think he's going to throw a side Sunday,” Hurdle said. “Sunday is going to be a big day for him.”

Cole threw a bullpen Thursday at PNC Park and also threw from flat ground earlier in the week.

“I think it's appropriate,” Hurdle said of Cole's throwing program. “I think that we are taking the steps we need to take, when we need to take them, to get him back.”

Hurdle said before Friday's game he had not been informed about how Cole's 20-pitch bullpen session went Thursday.

“I haven't asked anything yet. We landed at 4 a.m. (Friday),” Hurdle said. “I haven't had a lot of satellite meetings.

“Sometimes, that's why I don't ask these questions before (the media) comes in (pregame) because I'd have to answer them,” Hurdle said. “I'm not going to lie. I can look you in the eye and say I haven't had that conversation.”

Cole was not available for comment prior to Friday's series opener against the Marlins.

Oblique injury new for Liriano

Francisco Liriano said he still is sore after straining his left oblique Tuesday. Liriano was placed on the disabled list Wednesday, and the Pirates might not see the left-hander pitch for a while. In 2008, Dodgers director of medical services Stan Conte conducted a study that found the average stay on the disabled list for a pitcher with a strained oblique was 44 days. Pirates closer Jason Grilli missed 32 days with an oblique strain earlier this season.

“I've never had it before,” Liriano said. “Guys that had it before say it takes two weeks, maybe a month.”

Worley watch

Hurdle had no update on who will pitch in Liriano's place Sunday, but he noted Vance Worley is an option after having his scheduled start at Triple-A skipped. Worley's Triple-A start was taken by one of the Pirates' top prospects in Nick Kingham, who was promoted from Double-A Altoona on Thursday. Worley has a 4.30 ERA in seven Triple-A starts, but he has a strong 43-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Harrison update

Josh Harrison said the swelling in his left ankle has subsided considerably, but he was again held out of the Pirates' lineup Friday. Michael Martinez was called up from Triple-A to make the start at second base, and Casey Sadler was sent back to Indianapolis.

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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