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.

Video: Jorge Soler launches first home run of spring training

Jorge Soler
Associated Press
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The Royals and Rangers played the first game of spring training today. A few other teams (the Red Sox, Tigers and Twins) played or are currently playing college squads, but Kansas City-Texas is our first matchup of big league teams. Baseball’s back, baby! And you know what baseball means?

Kansas City’s Jorge Soler, who hit 48 homers last year to lead the American League, offered us the year’s first glimpse at recreational baseball murder when he took Kolby Allard out over the left field yard.

Mmm. That’s the good stuff. Here’s to eight and a half months more of that. Bring me the dingers.

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