The Pittsburgh Pirates were cruising early in the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night until an unexpected problem arose: an injury to the Pirates’ best left-handed pitcher, Wandy Rodriguez. In the bottom of the third inning with one out and a runner on first base, Rodriguez appeared to tweak his left hamstring after throwing a pitch to Diamondbacks’ third baseman Martin Prado.
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweeted during the game that Rodriguez experienced some tightness in his left hamstring.
Tightness in left hamstring for Rodriguez.
— Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) April 9, 2013
It was tweeted after the game that Rodriguez would be treated Monday night and that he would be re-evaluated on Tuesday.
If Rodriguez does end up hitting the disabled list, who will the Pirates replace him with? Well, there is one obvious candidate: Kyle McPherson, who pitched for the Pirates in 2012 for a few months, and he did a fine job. He started three games for the Pirates in 2012, and came in for relief in seven others, putting up a solid 2.73 ERA in 26.1 innings pitched.
There are a few other candidates to be the guy to replace Rodriguez, but they are less likely. Guys like Gerrit Cole and Phil Irwin come to mind. However, I have a hard time believing that the Pirates would call up their top pitching prospect before he is ready.
If Rodriguez doesn’t hit the DL, the Pirates could choose to simply push the left-hander’s start back. Then the Pirates could use a Jeanmar Gomez/Justin Wilson combination to fill in for a few innings each in Wandy’s next turn in the rotation.
The ideal situation for the Pirates would be for Rodriguez to not have to miss any time, but the Pirates team and fans should prepare for the worst. The reality is that Rodriguez could end up on the DL, joining fellow Pirates’ pitchers Charlie Morton, Francisco Liriano, and Jeff Karstens.