Wandy Rodriguez (Courtesy of Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
Pittsburgh Pirates’ starter Wandy Rodriguez is slated to make a rehab appearance for the Indianapolis Indians in the International League Playoffs on Friday.
Rodriguez has been on a wild roller coaster ride since suffering a forearm injury in early June. The 34-year-old veteran had not experienced what he felt in his bullpen session on Tuesday in 2 1/2 months. Nothing. He experienced no pain, no discomfort, no soreness and no worries.
“He got after it and threw and didn’t feel anything,” said manager Clint Hurdle. “That’s the first time that he’s thrown and said afterward that there’s nothing there. It was his most efficient bullpen [session]. He felt great, is in a very good place and looking forward to pitching for Indianapolis.”
Rodriguez’s rehab start will come for Triple-A Indy in game two of the playoffs. He is slated to pitch three innings or 50 pitches.
The Pirates have said that Rodriguez will unlikely return to the team in a starting role, but he rather step into a bullpen role.
Pittsburgh has three affiliates in the playoffs, but that won’t get Rodriguez enough time to get stretched out. Usually a pitcher goes three innings or 50 pitches the first time out, then follows with four innings, five innings, and so on until he reaches the point where he can throw 100 pitches in a start.
In order for that to happen the Indians would have to win the entire International League Playoffs to give Rodriguez enough time to get fully stretched out. It is not an impossible feat, but a difficult one. Currently, they’re down 1-0 in a best of five series against Durham.
The addition of Rodriguez to the bullpen would greatly improve one of the league’s top bullpens and increase the Pirates chances down the stretch and in the playoffs.