The Sports Xchange

MLB Team Report - Pittsburgh Pirates - INSIDE PITCH

PITTSBURGH -- Gerrit Cole was back with the Pirates on Monday, but whether he returns to the active roster for a three-game series this weekend against the National League East-leading Nationals remains to be seen.

Cole made a third rehab start for Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday and was outstanding as he pitched six scoreless innings and allowed only one hit against Rochester in an International League game.

Cole was so efficient with his pitches Sunday -- throwing 74 for an average of just 12.3 an inning -- that he did not finish in the preferred range of 90-100. Thus, there is an outside chance he will make one more rehab start in order to build up his pitch count.

"It was very, very good," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Cole's latest outing. "He was able to maintain delivery, maintain the (arm) slot, compete, make pitches, sharpness of pitches, command. All the things we wanted to show up, it showed up. The number of pitches is something we're going to need to talk about."

Cole is hopeful of being activated from the disabled list after being out since July 5 with a strained right lat muscle.

"I feel good," Cole said. "I feel like I'm ready to face major league hitters. It's not up to me, though. I'll do what they tell me but I'm looking forward to getting back out there as soon as I can."

Cole pitched five shutout innings in his first start with Indianapolis on July 28, also against Rochester. However, he needed extra time to recover from between starts then was rocked for five runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings last Tuesday by Toledo.

In all, Cole was 2-1 with a 2.93 ERA in his three starts with Indianapolis.

"I didn't feel good after my first start, my arm didn't bounce back really well," Cole said. "I think some of that might have come from not having pitched a while. I feel a lot stronger now."

In 14 starts with the Pirates this season, Cole is 7-3 with a 3.78 ERA. He has started just three times since June 3, though, after spending 23 days on the DL in June with right shoulder fatigue.

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MLB Team Report - Pittsburgh Pirates - NOTES, QUOTES

RECORD: 63-55

STREAK: Won one

NEXT: Tigers (LHP Robbie Ray, 1-1, 4.70 ERA) at Pirates (RHP Edinson Volquez, 9-7, 3.70 ERA)

PLAYER NOTES:

--CF Andrew McCutchen was finally placed on the 15-day disabled list before Monday night's 10-6 win over Detroit. McCutchen missed his seventh straight game with a fracture in his lower left ribcage and the DL move was backdated to Aug. 4. The Pirates do not have a timetable for when he will return, though that won't be until at least Aug. 18.