It's been a rough week for the Pirates, but there's some good news for them today; Michael Sanserino says that the tests done on Wandy Rodriguez's elbow revealed only inflammation (thus, no structural damge) and that Rodriguez is optimistic he could avoid a trip to the disabled list and may start for the Pirates as soon as next Thursday. Sanserino also says that Charlie Morton won't be bumped up from his last rehab start to pitch for the Pirates this weekend, which means the club will need a starter for next Tuesday. He says that that pitcher could "very likely" be Gerrit Cole.
Assuming that all of this (Rodriguez avoiding the DL, Cole starting on Tuesday) comes to pass, I'd find it awfully hard to believe the Pirates would call their best prospect up for a spot start. That means that Charlie Morton's immediate future is a bit murky. His rehab time is going to be up soon, but he hasn't looked all that sharp on his long rehab (not that numbers necessarily matter all that much here, of course). Does that mean he's destined for the bullpen? The Pirates obviously want the guy around since they elected to pay him $2 million this year instead of non-tendering him over the winter. He might fill a Vin Mazzaro role in the 'pen or maybe find a Justin Wilson-type jump in velocity when he can focus on throwing fewer pitches, but the Pirates haven't used him as a reliever at all on his rehab. I suppose we'll know for sure in a week or so.