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Cole could head to Minors to stay fresh during break

Cole could head to Minors to stay fresh during break

Cole could head to Minors to stay fresh during break

PITTSBURGH -- A couple of weeks ago, the idea of Gerrit Cole being sent back to the Minors irritated Pirates fans. Now that the exciting right-hander is almost certain to re-visit Indianapolis or even Altoona, those fans can afford a more tolerant stance on the "demotion."

Cole appears to be locked into the Pirates' rotation going forward. However, the Bucs seem set to move on the idea of having him stay on his throwing schedule around the lengthy All-Star Game break.

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Cole made his final pre-All-Star break start Tuesday, and his first post-All-Star break start may come as late as July 23. For young pitchers with options, a Minor League detour to fill that 14-day interval is logical.

"We've got five [starting] pitchers, and we'll talk to them later today about how we're going to adjust the schedules," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said early Wednesday afternoon.

Hurdle was well aware that Dan Straily, the young right-hander who had impressively handled the Bucs on Tuesday night, had just been optioned to Sacramento by the A's on the keep-him-pitching agenda.

"Any time you have a young pitcher, you try to find the best way to keep him pitching, so you don't have him sitting for 14 days," said Hurdle, speaking broadly.

The Minor League excursion is not an option for the Pirates' other starters: Veterans A.J. Burnett, Charlie Morton and Francisco Liriano; and Jeff Locke, who used up his options during seven Minor League seasons before breaking into All-Star stardom this year.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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