Despite not feeling great during his bullpen session on Monday, Pirates left-hander Wandy Rodriguez still plans on moving forward and throwing a simulated game Thursday, reports Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Rodriguez, 34, mixed in his breaking pitches during his 40-pitch bullpen on Monday for the first time since returning to the mound in early August, which may be why he didn't feel 100 percent. The southpaw had no issues in his four previous sessions on the mound, so the plan for now is keep the forward progress going.
The Pirates are hopeful that Rodriguez, who has been out since June 6 with forearm and elbow discomfort, will progress quickly enough to make a few rehab starts before the minor-league season ends at the end of the month. If he's able to keep moving forward, he could be back in the Pirates rotation by early September.
Pittsburgh got Charlie Morton back from Tommy John and added top prospect Gerrit Cole to the starter mix at about the same time Wandy went down with his injury, so his absence hasn't had too big an effect on the rotation. However, his return would still be a huge lift to the team, as the BABIP dragons are beginning to close in on Jeff Locke.
Rodriguez, who holds a $13 million player option for the 2014 season, owns a 3.59 earned-run average and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of almost four-to-one in 12 starts for the Bucs this year.