SAN FRANCISCO -- Gerrit Cole's pitching line in his rehab start Monday night for Triple-A Indianapolis was sharp: five shutout innings, three walks, seven strikeouts.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle's eyes and ears did not diminish the impression.
"I got a report from [Indianapolis pitching coach Tom] Filer, and watched videotape," said Hurdle, setting up a list of Cole's assets. "Firm velocity, threw both of his breaking balls [slider and curve], threw some changeups -- all four of his pitches. And threw the number  of pitches we wanted. A good first step back."
Step No. 2 will also occur with the Indians, this weekend, when the righty will target 100 pitches.
Unless the staff sees, or Cole feels, anything to warrant a change in the agenda, he next would make his return start during the Bucs' upcoming homestand.
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.