Gerrit Cole throws bullpen session, eyes return to Pirates

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On the disabled list with right shoulder fatigue, Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole threw a bullpen session Sunday and reported no problems.

Cole threw 34 pitches and said everything felt normal, so according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette he could rejoin the rotation within two weeks. Before that can happen he’ll need to advance to throwing a simulated game and, presumably, make at least one minor-league rehab start, so he’s not out of the woods yet.

Cole obviously won’t be ready to return when eligible to come off the disabled list Thursday, but for a young stud pitcher with shoulder problems the early news sounds positive. At age 23 the former No. 1 overall pick followed an impressive rookie season by picking up right where he left off, going 6-3 with a 3.64 ERA and 69/25 K/BB ratio in 77 innings.

Phillies sign Trevor Plouffe to minor league deal

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Infielder Trevor Plouffe has signed a minor league deal with the Phillies, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports. Plouffe asked for and was granted his release from the Rangers earlier this month.

Plouffe, 31, had a double and a home run in 17 plate appearances with Triple-A Round Rock to start the 2018 season. He spent last year with the Athletics and Rays, putting up a meager .198/.272/.318 batting line in 100 games.

Plouffe has mostly played third base throughout his career, but can also handle the other three infield spots and both outfield corners, so he’ll serve as organizational depth at Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the Phillies.