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Pirates | Gerrit Cole likely odd man out

Pittsburgh Pirates SP Gerrit Cole, along with SP Jeanmar Gomez (forearm), is unlikely to remain in the rotation once both SPs Wandy Rodriguez (forearm) and A.J. Burnett (calf) return from the disabled list in the next couple of weeks. Cole's next start has been pushed back to Friday, June 28, versus the Milwaukee Brewers, because Gomez is returning to the rotation on Wednesday, June 26, and the club is off on Thursday, June 27. Gomez would move to the bullpen once Rodriguez returns. A demotion of Cole appears to be the easiest solution once everyone is healthy.

"There's a business component to it, as far as keeping our depth," general manager Neal Huntington said. "Gerrit's probably got the best stuff of anybody in the rotation ... (and) he's made three impressive outings. But the challenge is, if we need another starter later, it may make sense to send Gerrit back so we have a sixth quality starter." Huntington stressed that the possibility that Cole will gain Super Two status won't be a factor in the decision. Cole and SP Jeff Locke are the only pitchers in the rotation who have minor league options remaining.

Fantasy Tip: However the Bucs paint this, it'd be a tough pill to swallow for Cole owners, who've watched him handle big league hitters with relative ease in three starts, going 3-0 with a 3.44 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and an 8/1 K/BB. Pittsburgh has legit pitching depth, as strange as that may seem. Charlie Morton has pitched well enough in his return from Tommy John surgery to stick, too. Burnett still isn't throwing from a mound, though, so there's plenty of time for this to shake out differently.

2013-06-24 10:25:54 | Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Rob Biertempfel

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