Pittsburgh Pirates’ Neil Walker, Gerrit Cole Nearing Full Strength


As the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to try and figure out whether or not they will be contenders for a playoff spot in 2014, getting healthy will go a long way to helping them figure out how good they can be during the summer months.

With that in mind it looks as if the Bucs could be getting some good news on the injury front.

Second baseman Neil Walker, in the midst of a very good season, looks as if he could be able to return on time from his stint on the disabled list.

Walker, out after undergoing an appendectomy, looks to be back at full strength and could be able to return when he is eligible to come off the DL on June 24.

The Pirates second baseman has started to swing the bat and has no pain, which is great news for a timely return.

As for starting pitcher Gerrit Cole, Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle said via Karen Price of the Tribune-Review that Cole (shoulder fatigue) has had no complications or setbacks from Sunday’s side session and is close to throwing 60 pitches off a mound.

Cole is eligible to come off the DL on Thursday and obviously won’t be ready at that time, but the news is encouraging that it won’t be long until Cole returns.

As for Francisco Liriano, on the DL with an oblique strain, the southpaw could start throwing catch on Thursday so it will likely still be a while before we see Liriano return to the mound.

Either way though, two out of three isn’t bad and the Pirates could be closer to getting back to full strength before long.