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.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.