Gerrit Cole’s lengthy minor-league rehab assignment is over and the Pirates have activated the former No. 1 overall pick from the disabled list for tonight’s start against the Braves.
Cole has been out since early July with a strained lat muscle and his road back was initially rocky, but he tossed six shutout innings at Triple-A on August 10 and followed it up with seven shutout innings there Friday.
Prior to being shut down Cole had a 3.78 ERA in 14 starts for the Pirates, giving the 23-year-old right-hander a 3.46 ERA in 203 innings since debuting last season.
The Pirates are officially shutting down Chris Archer for the season, GM Neal Huntington revealed Sunday. It’s more of a formality than anything else, but, as the Pirates are currently out of postseason contention, there seems to be no point in forcing the right-hander to accelerate his recovery from right shoulder inflammation.
Archer, 30, sustained the injury in late August and was initially projected to return sometime during September. He’s been throwing from flat ground over the last several weeks, but there had been no indication that he was ready to resume starting duties for the club. He’ll end his 2019 run with a 3-9 record in 23 starts and a 5.19 ERA, 4.1 BB/9, 10.8 SO/9, and 0.7 fWAR across 119 2/3 innings pitched; not his worst performance to date, but a considerable step down from the sub-5.00 ERA and 2.6 fWAR he posted with the Rays and Pirates in 2018.
With two weeks left in the regular season, the Pirates will soon wrap up their fourth consecutive non-contending campaign. Following Saturday’s brutal 14-1 loss to the Cubs, they were mathematically eliminated from postseason qualification. They last reached the playoffs in 2015, though it’s been six years since they advanced past the wild card tiebreaker and 27 years since they advanced past the Division Series.