ARLINGTON -- General manager Neal Huntington said the team is still working through determining the next course of action for both right-hander Charlie Morton and first baseman Steve Pearce, both of whom are currently on rehab assignments with Triple-A Indianapolis.
Morton (right shoulder fatigue) has made three starts for Indianapolis so far, and the Pirates have not decided yet if he will make a fourth. Morton, who last pitched on Saturday, is a candidate to pitch for Pittsburgh this Saturday if Zach Duke is unable to take his normal turn in the rotation.
Though Pearce (sprained right ankle) remains with Indianapolis, his ankle is, by all accounts, fully healed. As a result, Huntington said that he anticipates Pearce coming off the disabled list before the Pirates leave Texas on Thursday. The only question now is whether Pearce will come back to the big league club or stay with Indianapolis where he can play more regularly.
On Tuesday, Huntington also provided injury updates on four pitchers whom the organization initially thought might be ready to contribute at the Major League level before the end of the season:
Left-hander Neal Cotts: Cotts was progressing ahead of schedule in his return from Tommy John surgery until a right hip injury sidelined him recently. Cotts addressed the injury with surgery, but now complications from that procedure will keep Cotts out for the rest of the year.
Right-hander Tyler Yates: Yates was also rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, but he was shut down two weeks ago because of soreness in his right elbow. A visit to Dr. James Andrews revealed inflammation in the elbow, meaning that Yates has to sit out for another month. As a result of this setback, Yates is doubtful to return this year.
Right-hander Jose Ascanio: Ascanio's return from right shoulder surgery is going a little slower than expected, though Huntington confirmed there is nothing alarming with the timetable. Ascanio is throwing side sessions now and is expected to begin a rehab assignment in mid to late July. If there are no setbacks, the Pirates anticipate Ascanio being ready to compete again in mid to late August.
Right-hander Craig Hansen: Hansen, who has been out for more than a year with a nerve issue near his neck, has been shut down for the last two weeks due to elbow discomfort. He is expected to resume throwing again soon, though there is no timetable for his return.