Clint Hurdle hints that Keone Kela’s return to Pirates bullpen is imminent
Keone Kela’s most recent rehab appearance was so good, the reliever headed back to Pittsburgh and seemingly soon will find himself back on the Pirates roster.
Kela needed only 11 pitches to strike out all three batters he faced for Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday night. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Friday that Kela was to join the team that day, and the Pirates were going to have him throw.
“Not really back-to-back (days) in a game, but back-to-back work,” Hurdle said. “And then see where we are over the weekend.
“With no complications, he should be closing in on a return to the active roster.”
Kela has not pitched since May 4 and has been on the injured list since May 8 because of inflammation in his right (throwing) shoulder. After a setback in late May, there was concern that it could be a more serious condition affecting the power-thrower and former Texas Rangers closer.
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Kela was acquired for two prospects last July 31 to fill a high-leverage, late-inning role for the Pirates. But he’s been on the injured list twice and has a mediocre 3.67 ERA in 30 games since.
Hurdle relayed positive scouting reports from Kela’s outing Thursday against Syracuse.
“Threw four of five fastballs for strikes … five of six breaking balls for strikes, the curveball had depth and tilt,” Hurdle said. “(Indianapolis manager Brian Esposito) raved, and I actually had a friend who’s a scout for another team say he’s seen him, ‘He looked good.’
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .