BRADENTON, Fla. -- Gerrit Cole is hardly getting the Stephen Strasburg treatment. Unlike the last pitcher to be the overall No. 1 pick in the First-Year Player Draft, in 2009 by the Nationals, Cole has been flying under the radar in his first big league training camp. How long that will last is anybody's guess. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle reaffirmed on Wednesday that the former UCLA right-hander "will not make the team." However, Hurdle also indicated that Cole would not be left behind when Pirate City becomes the organization's Minor League camp and the Bucs begin Grapefruit League play.
"We have not yet discussed that, but there'll be opportunities for him to pitch. We'll see him go," Hurdle said. "'A' games or 'B' games or college games ... we've got a bunch of different games scheduled to get innings for everybody involved. That'll play itself out." Thus far, Cole has faithfully retraced Strasburg's steps: Sign too late in the summer to get in any Minor League action, make pro debut in the Arizona Fall League, enter camp not to compete but only to adsorb the experience. Two springs ago, Strasburg appeared in three exhibitions impressively (two runs allowed and 12 strikeouts in nine innings), started the year in Double-A and was in Washington by early June. Of course, the next year Strasburg also blew out his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery -- just something else the Pirates must take into consideration, regardless of how eye-popping Cole might be in the days ahead. "You have to like everything you see, but this is just an information-gathering time for him," Hurdle said. "I told him, 'Keep your eyes open, keep your ears open -- and when it's time to pitch, go pitch and get ready to be a starting pitcher.' At whatever level he starts out."