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.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.