PITTSBURGH -- Gerrit Cole left Friday evening's start against the Phillies after five efficient innings with right lat soreness, but both he and manager Clint Hurdle said the move was made as a precaution.
"It just got a little tight," Cole said. "Instead of trying to push through it, coming back, it just seemed like the right thing to do, to take a step back for a minute."
The 23-year-old righty allowed just one hit and three baserunners in five innings, but he had a conversation with Hurdle in the tunnel of the dugout after his back bothered him in the fifth. Cole noted his lat may have been a bit aggravated after he sat out some long innings in the dugout with the Pirates at the plate. Regardless, he said he "should be good to go."
"[It's] precaution as much as anything, but I'm glad he let us know," Hurdle said. "It's a sign from him, a sign of maturity. We'll see where it goes; we'll probably know a little bit more tomorrow. I don't think anybody is overly alarmed right now."
Cole was making his second start since a June stint on the disabled list with right shoulder fatigue, and he said the tightness on Friday was completely unrelated. The Pirates said they would re-evaluate Cole on Saturday.
Cole had silenced the Phillies' order in his five frames, giving up no runs and one walk with five strikeouts. It was a far better effort than his first start off the DL, when he gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks to the Mets last Saturday.
"Delivery was good all day, and [catcher Russell Martin] and I were on the same page a lot of the time; I don't think I shook him once," Cole said. "I could do a better job of getting ahead of them. There were some long at-bats. But for the most part, I'm going to keep trying to repeat what I did today."
In his second Major League season, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2011 Draft has a 3.78 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 85 2/3 innings.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.