Would the Pirates send Gerrit Cole back to the minors?

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Gerrit Cole is 3-0 with a 3.44 ERA through three career starts, walking just one batter in 18 innings while throwing 101 miles per hour and defeating Zack Greinke, Tim Lincecum, and Jered Weaver.

And apparently the Pirates might send him back to the minors. General manager Neal Huntington said on his radio show Sunday that demoting Cole would make “smart business sense” once the Pirates’ other starters are healthy.

Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette writes that part of the move would simply be due to Cole having minor-league options and the Pirates having six starters for five spots, but sending the former No. 1 pick back to the minors would also limit his service time enough for Cole to avoid “Super 2” arbitration status down the line.

For now it’s a moot point, as Wandy Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett are both on the disabled list, but the clock is ticking on Cole’s first taste of the big leagues.

MRI reveals rib inflammation for Anthony Rizzo

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Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo underwent an MRI on Tuesday that revealed rib inflammation on his left side, Maddie Lee of NBC Sports Chicago reports. Rizzo has been dealing with back soreness for the last week and has missed several intrasquad games as a result.

Rizzo is unsure if he can avoid opening the regular season on the injured list. He said, “I’ll do everything I can to stay off of it, obviously. … Every game’s important. So, we’ve got to get off to a good start and hopefully I’m out there with the guys. I plan on it, but you can’t control it and you’ve got to be smart.”

Rizzo, who turns 31 years old next month, is coming off of another highly productive season in which he hit .293/.405/.520 with 27 home runs, 94 RBI, and 89 runs scored over 613 plate appearances. In the event he needs to open the season on the IL, Victor Caratini figures to get the first crack at handling first base.

The Cubs missed the playoffs last year for the first time since 2014, finishing in third place with a 84-78 record. Rizzo, no doubt, will play a big role if the Cubs are to find themselves back in the postseason.