BRADENTON, FL. – The first workouts of the year for pitchers and catchers also brought the first injury updates of the year. Among those injury updates was news that Gerrit Cole is currently dealing with inflammation in his mid-right rib area.
“He had a little bit of right rib inflammation during a training session in mid-January,” Pirates’ head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk said. “He’s playing catch on flat ground, without any restrictions. We anticipate getting him off the slope on Monday.”
Both Tomczyk and Cole described the injury as a “training injury” and said that Cole is on a slightly modified throwing schedule.
“It was just something that kept nagging, and we needed to kind of address, so that we could get both feet on the ground when we got out here,” Cole said. “Moving in the right direction.”
As for whether this could impact Cole for the start of the season, it was something Cole wasn’t focused on at this point.
“I’m just trying to execute the throwing program right now,” Cole said. “I think we get off the mound early next week. Really, that’s kind of all my focus is on right now.”
Cole said that he’s not too far behind everyone else, and that he feels good. He also said that this isn’t prohibiting him from throwing, and he doesn’t feel it in the area.
Here are the other injury updates from Tomczyk:
**I provided a detailed update on Nick Kingham the other day, but I asked Tomczyk if they anticipated a conservative schedule for Kingham. His response: “As UCL reconstruction surgeries continue to become more and more, I wouldn’t term it as conservative. We’re seeing 14-16 months is the general timeframe for these guys. Every rehab is individualized. You can very easily clump everyone together in the 14-16 month, but some take that time, some take longer.”
**Tomczyk wouldn’t commit to Jung-ho Kang being ahead of schedule or ready for Opening Day.
“He’s still falling in to that six to eight month range,” Tomczyk said. “That will put us sometime in April.”
One of the big steps of Kang’s rehab will be when he transitions to being able to cut while running and run the bases. There is no timeline yet for that transition, as the Pirates take Kang’s rehab on a day-to-day basis.
**The Pirates traded for Jesse Biddle from the Phillies earlier this month, although he will be out for the season after undergoing Tommy John in October. He’s not throwing at the moment, but should start throwing off flat grounds sometime in mid-March.
**Antoan Richardson, who the Pirates signed as a minor league free agent this off-season, is currently out with a right foot fracture. He won’t be at full baseball activity when camp opens for position players next week, and the Pirates anticipate that to happen in mid-to-late March. The injury happened with his old team from running. He had surgery in the off-season to stabilize the fracture.