Chris Leroux Begins Rehab Assignment

PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 22: Chris Leroux #63 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers during the game on August 2, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Bill Brink tweets that the Pirates have announced that Chris Leroux will begin a rehab assignment with Class A+ Bradenton today. He is expected to throw 40-50 pitches over three innings.

Leroux is on the 60-day DL with a strained pectoral muscle which he injured the day before the Pirates set their Opening Day 25-man roster. He has been throwing bullpen sessions while rehabbing in Bradenton and will now have up to 30 days to be on a rehab assignment.

This will be interesting to watch. I had expected Leroux to be back right around the end of June, and that appears to be the timetable now. He is out of options so the Pirates will have to create a spot on the 25-man roster or designate him for assignment when his rehab stint ends.

During the offseason, I had hoped the Pirates would give Leroux a chance to start, but because he had no options, that was always unlikely. It's too early to speculate how things will break when he returns, particularly with the Pirates pitching so well, but Leroux would be an ideal long-man in the Pirates pen, a role that isn't ideal for anyone on the current staff.

The Pirates have taken lots of shots on big, hard-throwing pitchers who could be obtained for nothing. Jason Grilli and Chris Leroux are probably the biggest successes to date. Hopefully Leroux can comeback and match the success that Grilli has had his second year in the organization.

Here is a link to his player page.

With Jeff Karstens, Charlie Morton and Chris Leroux due back this month, Kevin Correia, Chris Resop and Juan Cruz are all on alert. It's a numbers game. Jared Hughes could be sent down eventually to create a spot, but nobody else is going anywhere. Too much pitching. What a nice problem.

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