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.