Gerrit Cole will make another rehab start as Pirates insist they aren’t worried

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Gerrit Cole struggled Tuesday in his second minor-league rehab start at Triple-A, so the Pirates will have the 23-year-old right-hander make at least one more appearance in the minors before returning from a strained lat muscle.

Cole gave up five runs on 10 hits in 4.2 innings, but manager Clint Hurdle spun things in a less negative light by saying that he was told to focus on repeating his delivery rather than getting batters out. Of course, it’d be more encouraging if Cole were able to do both at the same time.

That second rehab start had actually been pushed back, so clearly something isn’t quite right with Cole. If he struggles again in his third start, it might be time for Pirates fans to worry about what’s going on, exactly.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.