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Grilli to make pair of Double-A rehab starts

Grilli to make pair of Double-A rehab starts

Grilli to make pair of Double-A rehab starts

PITTSBURGH -- While taking care of business on the field, the Bucs are also keeping a light on for a pair of veteran pitchers who at least could be on the horizon for possible postseason participation.

Reliever Jason Grilli and left-handed starter Wandy Rodriguez are both hitting the accelerator in their recoveries from forearm injuries. Grilli has been making steady progress, so his rehab appearance for Double-A Altoona on Saturday won't be surprising. However, the news that Rodriguez could also be on a rehab mound by the end of next week is a stunner -- considering he paid a visit Tuesday to Dr. James Andrews, the orthopedic surgeon with a volume business in Tommy John surgeries.

The pitchers' agendas, in detail:

• Grilli will start for the Curve on Saturday, pitch an inning at a maximum of 20 pitches, and repeat that drill Monday. If he keeps bouncing back well, he would pitch one inning out of Triple-A Indianapolis' bullpen in Wednesday's International League playoff game at Durham.

"Grilli has always wanted to start," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said, with a grin, of his closer, "Well, we're going to give him that opportunity."

• Rodriguez is to throw 15-20 pitches -- all fastballs -- off the slope of the mound Sunday, then a bona fide bullpen session Tuesday in Milwaukee.

"Depending on how he feels," Hurdle said, "we may be able to send him out on rehab."

Rodriguez's rehab time would be quite limited, with the Minor League playoff clocks ticking down by the time he'd be able to go.

"He's looking at 50-65 pitches, maximum. It'd be hard to stretch him out to any more," Hurdle said.

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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