The Pittsburgh Pirates received some unwelcome news on Saturday about left-handed starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Rodriguez is still feeling “pain and discomfort” when he pitches in simulated games and that he will be shut down for the rest of the season.
The Pirates have been playing without Rodriguez for several months so nothing is going to change with the news of him being done for the season. This doesn’t mean that losing him isn’t huge news; it is a very large issue. The possibility of Rodriguez being able to return before the end of the season made the ineffectiveness of Jeff Locke and the worry that Gerrit Cole will tire out easier to handle. Now the Pirates must simply hope Locke is able to pitch closer to the way he did before the All-Star break and fix his control issues he has had throughout the second half of the season. The Pirates need to hope that Cole is able to take on the extra innings that September and October will bring, and still pitch effectively without getting injured.
Sure, the Pirates have other options, but they aren’t great options to consider using in a pennant race. Brandon Cumpton, Jeanmar Gomez, Kris Johnson and Stolmy Pimentel don’t exactly sound like pitchers that will be able to help the Pirates win a division title.
Rodriguez will finish the 2013 season with 12 starts in which he went 6-4 with a 3.59 ERA. The Pirates now need to hope that Rodriguez will be able to be completely healthy for the 2014 season because he is probably going to pick up his player-option and play for the Bucs again next year.