ATLANTA -- The Pirates rotation's injury woes continued in Wednesday afternoon's 5-0 loss to the Braves when Wandy Rodriguez was forced to exit his start after just 14 pitches with tightness in his left forearm.
Rodriguez had recorded only one out in the first inning, allowing Braves leadoff man Andrelton Simmons to come around and score on an RBI groundout by Chris Johnson. After Rodriguez hit Freddie Freeman three pitches later, trainers and manager Clint Hurdle came out to the mound to attend to the southpaw, who was clenching and unclenching his left hand and pointing to his arm.
Hurdle had not spoken with Rodriguez about the status of his arm immediately after Wednesday's game.
"He caught a flight to get back to Pittsburgh to get looked at there," Hurdle said. "Basically, he said he had left forearm tightness, and anything past what he had gone out there to do at that point, he wasn't comfortable doing it. I completely understood."
Right-hander Bryan Morris came on to replace Rodriguez, escaping the inning without further damage and turning in a much-needed 3 2/3 innings of shutout relief. Morris pitched three scoreless innings on Sunday after starter Jeanmar Gomez exited after one inning with tightness in his right forearm.
Rodriguez took the loss, surrendering one run on two hits in the shortest outing of his 242 career starts.
It remains to be seen what Hurdle will do should Rodriguez need to miss extended time. With Gomez on the 15-day disabled list with an inflamed and strained right forearm but no ligament damage, the Pirates had planned to use their upcoming off-days to temporarily employ a four-man rotation. Starting next Tuesday, however, the Pirates begin a stretch of 13 consecutive days with a game.
Eric Single is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less