Wandy Rodriguez is trying to make it back to the Pirates

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Out since early June with an elbow injury that was recently diagnosed as arthritis, Pirates left-hander Wandy Rodriguez threw a simulated game yesterday.

Rodriguez has gotten this far into his recovery before–and actually made a minor-league rehab appearance earlier this month–only to suffer a setback and be shut down again several times. And another setback would likely mean the end of his season.

However, manager Clint Hurdle told¬†George Von Benko of MLB.com that Rodriguez “seemed to be in a good place” during the simulated game and “he’s getting close” to a potential return from the DL. Of course, Rodriguez rejoining the team and being impressive enough to warrant a spot on the playoff roster–and perhaps in the playoff rotation–are two very different things.

Rodriguez will almost surely pick up his $13 million player option for 2014, so if nothing else making an appearance before the season ends could provide some optimism heading into the offseason.