When looking over the candidates that could make an impact in the Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 starting, the name Wandy Rodriguez is often forgotten about.
That’s with good reason, as Rodriguez started just 12 games for the Bucs last year before shutting things down in June with elbow problems.
However, as the Tribune-Review’s Rob Biertempfel reports, the veteran left-hander is making significant progress as he has started throwing again and expects to be ready for spring training.
Rodriguez long-tossed from 90 feet in December, the first throwing Rodriguez has done since he was shut down for the season two months earlier due to forearm pain.
While long-tossing isn’t anything to get too excited about, Rodriguez apparently felt no pain and was encouraged by the session.
That’s good news alone for Pirates fans.
He is expected to start throwing bullpens in a couple of weeks and, assuming everything goes well, he should be on track to go full-steam when pitchers and catchers report to Bradenton on Feb. 13.
Rodriguez exercised his $13-million player option to remain with the Pirates for 2014, which was an easy decision thanks to the injury. He likely wouldn’t have gotten half of that on the open market.
Before the injury, Rodriguez was pitching very well, posting a 3.59 ERA at age 34. Overall, Rodriguez has a 3.66 ERA in 138 total innings since the Pirates acquired him from the Astros in mid-2012.
If Rodriguez can prove he is healthy and return to form, it will be a big lift for the Pirates’ rotation.