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Pirates notebook: Cole to make rehab start at Indianapolis on Monday

| Friday, July 25, 2014, 7:45 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole sits in the dugout with Francisco Liriano during a game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, June 8, 2014, at PNC Park.

DENVER — Gerrit Cole could be on track for an early August return to the Pirates' rotation.

Cole (right lat strain) is not with the team in Denver. Cole joined Triple-A Indianapolis in Rochester, N.Y., where he threw a 55-pitch bullpen session without issue Friday.

Cole is scheduled to make an 80-pitch rehab start Monday for Indianapolis at Rochester, according to Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.

Cole did not make a rehab start after returning from shoulder fatigue he suffered in early June. Cole made two starts after returning from the disabled list before leaving his second start with back discomfort.

The Pirates have been cautious with their prized young pitcher. They don't want Cole returning to the disabled for a third time this season, and want him healthy and to be a potential difference maker like he was last September.

Alvarez still out

Pedro Alvarez (knee) was out of the starting lineup for a second straight game Friday.

Alvarez took infield work prior to the game and went through agility drills. Hurdle said Alvarez is day to day but healthy enough to be available off the bench.

Alvarez perhaps is not being rushed back because the Pirates faced Rockies' left-handed starter Brett Anderson on Friday and will square off against another lefty, Tyler Matzek, on Saturday. Alvarez has struggled against left-handed pitching, batting .186 this season and .198 in his career.

The timeout could help Alvarez mentally. He leads baseball with 22 errors, including 21 throwing miscues.

Glasnow stays hot

One pitcher teams ask the Pirates about in trade talks is Tyler Glasnow, who might be pitching his way past Jameson Taillon to become the top pitching prospect in the system.

Glasnow took home a second straight No. 1 ranking on Baseball America's weekly “Prospect Hot Sheet.”

After a back injury delayed his start to the season, Glasnow was dominant in his last appearance, striking out 11 in six scoreless innings. He walked two and allowed four hits.

Glasnow is 7-1 with a 0.98 ERA in his last 10 starts for High-A Bradenton. He could be promoted to Double-A before the end of the season.

Glasnow has an intimidating presence. He is 6-foot-8, with a fastball that often sits in the mid to upper 90s.

“I'm sure it's pretty intimidating,” Glasnow told TribLIVE Radio of his size. “It creates angles. There's a lot of positives. (One negative) is going out and finding (size 15 or 16) shoes. That's always tough.”

While Glasnow is known for his fastball, he said his most significant improvement this season is in throwing his changeup.

“They are big on getting young guys to throw it,” Glasnow said. “It is night and day from the beginning of the season.”

Surplus to sell?

MLB.com said of all contending teams, the Pirates have the most young talent they could reasonably afford to trade when seeking to upgrade before the July 31 trade deadline.

Wrote MLB.com prospect analyst Jim Callis: “The Pirates' big league outfield is stacked, and even if (Gregory) Polanco were untouchable, they have several quality outfield prospects to deal in Josh Bell, Austin Meadows and Harold Ramirez. ... No contender can match the Bucs' combination of prospect quality and quantity.”

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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