WASHINGTON -- Gerrit Cole was given a test for his fourth rehab start, and he aced it.
The Pirates had resisted the temptation to plug Cole back into their rotation following his previous sharp start for Indianapolis because he had logged only 74 pitches. Manager Clint Hurdle essentially dispatched him to the Triple-A Indians with orders to work up to seven innings and 90 pitches, "then we'll talk."
Cole took the mound in Louisville on Friday night, and he blanked the Bats on five hits for seven innings, walking one and striking out three. He made 92 pitches, 59 of them strikes.
The Bucs will wait for day-after reports to see how Cole feels. He went on the DL with a sore lat on July 9.
However, it is reasonable to expect him to merge back into the rotation. On a regular throwing schedule, he would face Atlanta in PNC Park on Wednesday in the finale of the brief 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.