Gerrit Cole allowed five runs on 10 hits over 4 2/3 innings in a rehab start last week, but the Pirates insisted they weren’t worried about those results and it appears that their confidence was well-placed.
Cole was sensational in his latest rehab outing Sunday with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians, yielding just one hit over six scoreless innings. He struck out three and did not walk a batter. The right-hander only threw 73 pitches, which might preclude the Bucs from activating him this week, but the outing can still be considered a great sign of progress.
Cole has been on the disabled list for over a month with discomfort in his right lat muscle and suffered a minor setback at the beginning of August. He also missed time with a shoulder injury earlier this season.
The 23-year-old former first overall pick boasts a 3.46 ERA and 1.227 WHIP through his first 203 innings at the major league level. The Pirates — who are currently 2 1/2 games back of the Brewers in the National League Central standings — need him to be ace-like down the stretch.
Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson managed to get ejected while hitting a home run.
Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.
With the score 2-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 AL MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.
Manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.
Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.
Donaldson also had argued with Bellino on a 1-1 breaking ball in the first inning that appeared to be high but was called a strike, leading to a strikeout.
“We need Josh on the field, out there playing, and at third base,” Baldelli said. “That’s when we’re at our best. And so that’s really the end of it. I think we can move past it at his point, and go from here.”