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.

Nathan Eovaldi to start Game 3 for the Red Sox

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Red Sox manager Alex Cora said last night that Nathan Eovaldi will start Game 3 of the ALCS against the Astros on Tuesday.

Rick Porcello was previously lined up to start that game, but he was used in relief in last night’s game. Not that Eovaldi is chopped liver. Indeed, he’s coming off seven innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts and no walks in his Game 3 start against the Yankees in the ALDS.

Houston will go with Dallas Keuchel in Game 3, followed by Charlie Morton in Game 4. That is, “unless Armageddon hits and we have a historically long game,” said A.J. Hinch yesterday.