Pirates place McCutchen on DL, recall RHP Sadler
Unable to keep hoping that Andrew McCutchen could be ready to play sooner rather than later, the Pirates placed the center fielder on the disabled list on Monday retroactive to Aug. 4.
McCutchen suffered an avulsion fracture involving the cartilage of the 11th left rib Aug. 3 in Arizona. He and the Pirates initially thought there was a chance he could avoid the DL, and on Sunday general manager Neal Huntington said McCutchen had made “remarkable” progress.
Manager Clint Hurdle said before the move was made Monday that the Pirates continued to gather feedback from trainers, strength and conditioning coaches and McCutchen as they weighed the pros and cons of a placing the 2013 NL MVP on the DL.
“Andrew is one of the most honest self-evaluators I've ever met,” Hurdle said. “He's going to tell you what he truly believes he's capable of doing.”
The Pirates recalled right-hander Casey Sadler from Triple-A Indianapolis to take McCutchen's place on the 25-man roster. Sadler is 9-4 with a 3.06 ERA in 18 starts with the Indians this season.
Still successfully avoiding the DL is Neil Walker (back spasms), who was not in the starting lineup for the eighth time in the last nine games.
Hurdle acknowledged it has been unique to wait on two key players with different injuries that players and management were convinced did not require time on the DL.
“I don't believe I've been in a situation like this before,” he said. “At the end of the day, you've got to make a decision that you have conviction about and players have ownership of, and not worry about anything else and go forward.”
Next step for Cole
Gerrit Cole took what Hurdle called a big step forward with his rehab outing on Sunday, but the Pirates still have to decide what's next for the young right-hander.
“He was able to maintain the slot, compete, make pitches, the sharpness of pitches, command. All the things we wanted to show up, showed up,” said Hurdle, who planned to have a meeting with Cole and pitching coach Ray Searage. “The number of pitches, 74, is something we'll have to talk about.”
Cole was efficient, Hurdle said, but there still is a question of how many pitches they can expect to get from him the next time he gets the ball, “because it does make a difference.
“We need to discuss volume,” Hurdle said.
Cole has pitched in the majors only twice since June 3. His first stint on the disabled list for right shoulder fatigue lasted from June 8-28. He went back on the DL on July 5 with right lat soreness.
He was scheduled to go six innings or 90 pitches on Sunday, his third rehab outing. He threw 73 in six scoreless innings and allowed just one hit.
“It was good work (Sunday),” Cole said. “It was efficient. Good location, all four pitches. It was a nice outing.”
Cole said he was able to keep a consistent arm slot and disciplined throughout his delivery, one thing the Pirates were looking for. Asked if he was ready to face major league hitters, he said, “I was pretty sharp last time, so I'm looking forward to what happens next.”
The Pirates still see prospect Alen Hanson as a shortstop, but they're giving him a “refresher” at second base with Double-A Altoona, Huntington said, to gain some flexibility and versatility for 2015. “We wanted to put Alen in a position to help us maybe sooner rather than later at second or (at) short if we had an injury next year,” said Huntington, who confirmed that Triple-A prospect Chase d'Arnaud now is primarily an outfielder. … Tyler Glasnow was named Florida State League Pitcher of the Week for Aug. 4-10. He is 9-5 at High-A Bradenton with a league-leading 1.53 ERA. He has 122 strikeouts in 100 innings.