By Jason Shetler
According to manager Clint Hurdle, Gerrit Cole is expected to return to the rotation on September 12th for the opening game of their series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
The 2016 season has witnessed Cole land on the disabled list twice. The first DL stint was in June with a triceps injury, while the second trip happened earlier this week with elbow inflammation. Cole had pitched well in the first half, as he posted a 2.77 ERA and held opponents to a .267 batting average in 12 starts. The second half has been more of a struggle for him, putting up an ERA of 4.73 along with a 1.51 WHIP in eight starts. The month of August in particular was by far the worst of Cole’s career, posting a 6.08 ERA with a batting average against of .363 in 26.2 innings pitched.
On Saturday, Cole threw a 30-pitch bullpen session, which consisted of all fastballs, and the report was that he was able to throw them pain free. The Pirates have said that he will throw another session this week, with the plan being for him to incorporate his secondary pitches along with the fastball. If Cole can at least show shades of the pitcher he was before the All-Star break, it would obviously be a big boost for this rotation down the stretch.