Wandy Rodriguez may be closer to return from 60-day disabled list

It's been a long injury-plagued season for Pirates' starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez.  He was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 6 with left forearm tightness.  But he wasn't ready to return when he was eligible and was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. But after more than three months, there may be light at the end of the tunnel for Rodriguez.

As reported by George Von Benko of MLB.com, Rodriguez continued to have problems during a bullpen session on August 19 and during a simulated game on August 22.  But after an examination revealed no structural damage,  he began a throwing program on September 3 and a Minor League rehab start on September 6.  The progression lead up to the simulated start on Thursday night, which may lead to him being activated.

Manager Clint Hurdle is cautiously optimistic about the progression that Rodriguez has made.

"I left and he had thrown 32 pitches and seemed to be in a good place," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We'll wait till we get to the next step. It's one thing at a time. We'll see how he throws today and we'll see how he feels tomorrow, and then we'll plan out the next step. I think he's getting close, but we're going to find out more today with him throwing four innings and trying to get to 70 pitches, that will give us more information to work with and then you add that on to how he feels tomorrow and those will be indicators to help us decide and map out what's in front of us."
 Rodriguez lead the league in games started last year with 33, but has started only 12 games and thrown 62 2/3 innings this season. He has been effective when healthy, has a record of 6-4 with a 3.59 earned run average.  For his career, his is one game below .500 at 91-92, with a 4.01 earned run average.

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