Clint Hurdle said that Gerrit Cole will miss his next start due to shoulder fatigue. The team intends to move Charlie Morton back a day, and to have Jeff Locke "potentially" pitch Sunday against the Brewers.
Hurdle declined to say whether Cole had an MRI, but did acknowledge he was a candidate for the disabled list.
"Yes [he is a candidate for the DL], just because you want to protect him, so the conversation is being had," Hurdle said.
"I think fatigue is the proper word. We really think it is just fatigue at this point," Hurdle said of Cole's condition. "There have been some red flags we've picked up, consistency of pitches, volume of pitches, efficiency of pitches. There are a lot of different factors you look at, and you do talk to him."
The Pirates will announce a corresponding move tomorrow.
June 3 start vs. the Padres
As we noted in the comments section of the pregame post, Cole lost some velocity on his fastball in the later innings of his last start. Whether or not the drop in velocity was related to his newly-diagnosed shoulder fatigue is, of course, purely speculative. However, the fact that a few fastballs only reached 91 MPH in his final inning of work is a little strange and jumps off the page.
Below is a table of Cole's inning-by-inning velocity from June 3. Fastballs are the black dots.
Why was Morton moved back a day?
The question was not asked of Hurdle following the game, so there is not much to go on at this point.
Assuming everything is fine with Morton, it seems a bit odd to move his start back a day, leaving Jeff Locke to face the first-place Brewers. Perhaps it has something do with not giving Locke too many days off between starts and keeping him on something like a regular schedule. (Locke skipped his scheduled start last night.)
Morton has not indicated anything is wrong with him, and nobody with the Pirates is commenting one way or the other. But Hurdle's careful phrasing when discussing the short-term plans for the rotation did raise some eyebrows.
"Our intentions are to potentially start Locke tomorrow and move Charlie back a day," Hurdle said. "Our intentions are to do that. So, that is the way we are thinking of going right now."
An additional item of interest is that Vance Worley skipped his Saturday start for Indianapolis and is now scheduled to start Sunday. It may be worth keeping an eye on whether he remains the scheduled starter throughout the morning Sunday.
Clint Hurdle meets with the press at 10:00 a.m. Sunday.