Wandy Rodriguez returns to the mound

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The Pirates have the best record in baseball.

And their rotation could soon get a big boost.

According to beat writer Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, lefty starter Wandy Rodriguez threw off a mound Wednesday for the first time in a month and reported no issues with his forearm or elbow. He’s scheduled to throw another bullpen session this Saturday and then it might be time to progress to a live batting practice session.

Rodriguez, who has been out since June 5 with left elbow and forearm tightness, could be ready to rejoin the Pittsburgh starting rotation at some point in late August or early September if he avoids further setbacks. He began a rehab assignment on June 24 but had to halt it after experiencing renewed mid-arm discomfort.

Wandy had a superb 3.59 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 46/12 K/BB ratio in 62 2/3 innings before landing on the disabled list. The Pirates (68-44) enter play Wednesday night against the visiting Marlins with a two-game lead over the 66-46 Cardinals in the National League Central standings.

Yankees to activate Greg Bird tomorrow

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The Yankees have the best offense in all of baseball. Now they’re about to add a big power threat: Greg Bird will be activated tomorrow.

Bird has missed the entire year since undergoing ankle surgery to remove a spur back in March. He’s been on the mend of late, however, and recently completed a stretch of 12 rehab games in which he didn’t hit a ton, but he showed that he was healthy and that’s always been the biggest thing with him. As you’ll recall, he missed considerable time with trouble in the same ankle last season.

Bird has always shown considerable promise, and the Yankees — despite scoring runs in bunches — could use a little left-handed power and some better production at first base. Bird, hopefully, will be able to provide it.