ST. LOUIS -- Following Friday night's start for Triple-A Indianapolis in an International League playoff game, left-hander Wandy Rodriguez's next, quick stop could be the Pirates' bullpen.
That would not necessarily be by choice. But if the Indians, who went into Friday night's game trailing Durham 2-0 in the best-of-five series, are eliminated, "we don't have any other opportunity for him to pitch but here," manager Clint Hurdle said of Rodriguez, who was shelved by a forearm strain in early June and more recently was diagnosed with arthritis.
The Indians are placing their hopes of surviving at least one more day on a marquee mound tag-team: Scheduled to follow Rodriguez and set to go either three innings or 50 pitches is top prospect Jameson Taillon. Rodriguez allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits over three innings on Friday, with one strikeout.
If Indianapolis' season ends, however, pitching coach Ray Searage and Hurdle will have to be creative to continue prepping Rodriguez for possible inclusion on a postseason staff.
"We'll deal with it and maybe look for an opportunity to roll the dice and start him and piggyback him with somebody else -- or have him behind a starter who gets knocked out early," Hurdle said.
First, of course, Rodriguez will have to show on Friday night that he is in condition to compete.
"He'll have a lot of eyes on him," Hurdle said. "It'll be the eyeball test."
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.