PITTSBURGH -- Though Joel Hanrahan can come off the disabled list as early as Saturday, he is on target for an April 12 return date, manager John Russell said on Monday. The reason for the two-day delay has to do with Hanrahan's scheduled pitching plan and nothing to do with a recent setback. Hanrahan, who got a late start this spring due to a right elbow injury, stayed in Bradenton, Fla., where he is pitching in extended spring games. Hanrahan might make an appearance in a Triple-A game later this week, though that will be dependent on the weather. The Pirates have not announced how they plan to make room for Hanrahan on the roster, though it's likely that starter Daniel McCutchen will be the odd man out. The Pirates already planned to skip McCutchen's spot in the rotation twice after he pitches against Arizona on Saturday, so by sending him to Triple-A after that first start, McCutchen would be ensured of getting in his normal work.
Also, by using an eight-member bullpen while the Pirates don't need a fifth starter, the club would have an extra two weeks to evaluate right-hander Hayden Penn. Penn was the last reliever to make the club and was only able to pitch in two Grapefruit League games for Pittsburgh.