Pirates leaning toward using Gerrit Cole as playoff reliever

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Gerrit Cole tossed seven shutout innings last night as the Pirates clinched their first winning season since 1992–when he was two years old–but the standout rookie may not be starting any playoff games.

According to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, manager Clint Hurdle “indicated Cole’s postseason role would be in the bullpen.”

Francisco Liriano and A.J. Burnett have been the Pirates’ two best starters all season, but the choice for No. 3 starter is an interesting one. Wandy Rodriguez likely would have been the pick, but he’s hurt. Jeff Locke made the All-Star team, but has fallen apart since. Charlie Morton has been very good since coming off the disabled list. And then there’s Cole, who has a 3.48 ERA in 16 starts and has allowed more than three runs just twice.

Of course, if the Pirates don’t win the NL Central crown they’ll have to win the Wild Card play-in game or their choice for No. 3 starter will be moot.

Ty Blach to undergo Tommy John surgery

Ty Blach Tommy John
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Orioles pitcher Ty Blach will undergo Tommy John surgery on his left elbow on Wednesday, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports. Teammate Richie Martin, a shortstop, will also undergo surgery on his right wrist the same day, Kubatko adds.

Blach, 29, experienced soreness in his left elbow on Thursday during an intrasquad game. He will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2020 season as well as most of the 2021 season.

The Orioles selected Blach off waivers from the Giants in early August last year. Over 27 combined innings, the lefty allowed 36 earned runs on 46 hits and 17 walks with 20 strikeouts.

Martin, 25, injured his wrist on a slide during an intrasquad game on Friday. The Orioles initially described the injury as just a fingernail laceration, but an X-ray revealed a broken bone. Martin made his major league debut last year, posting a .581 OPS over 309 plate appearances.

Kubatko notes that the timetable for Martin’s recovery is two to three months. It is difficult to see Martin playing in any games this season.