SAN DIEGO -- Wandy Rodriguez will continue his throwing program as he returns from a forearm injury despite continued discomfort, manager Clint Hurdle said Tuesday.
Rodriguez, on the disabled list since early June because of tightness in his left forearm, will pitch in a simulated game Thursday in San Francisco. After Rodriguez's bullpen session Monday, he said he felt something in the forearm, though he was not sure exactly what it was.
"It's a new development," Hurdle said. "He didn't talk about feeling it after his [simulated] game at home. The first time it was mentioned was [Monday] after throwing."
Hurdle said the Pirates would like Rodriguez to pitch without pain before he returns, but are taking their time with his recovery.
"He doesn't want to feel pain, he's not sure what he feels right now," Hurdle said. "We'll pitch him again on Thursday and see what other comments or feelings he might have and just go from there. We'll take it one step at a time."
Jason Grilli is closer to returning. After Grilli threw from 120 feet Monday, Hurdle said Grilli might be ready for pitching off the slope of the mound but not the mound itself.
"Jason's moving forward in a very good fashion," Hurdle said.
Grilli will not need a long rehab because he only needs to build up to one inning. He went on the disabled list at the end of July with a flexor strain in his right arm.
Hurdle said James McDonald's early exit from a rookie-level Gulf Coast League game Monday was not related to shoulder pain. McDonald, on a rehab assignment, completed 2/3 of an inning and allowed two runs, two hits and a walk. He has been on the disabled list because of shoulder pain since early May.
Looking at Morneau
The Pirates have some interest in trading for Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, according to a source.
Morneau, 32, cleared waivers earlier this month, meaning the Twins can trade him to any team. Morneau, a left-handed hitter, was hitting .261 with a .418 slugging percentage in 503 plate appearances before the game Tuesday against Detroit. He homered in the game, giving him seven homers this month.
He is making $14 million in the final year a six-year, $80 million contract and is owed roughly $3.3 million the rest of the season. CBS Sports reported the Pirates had interest in Morneau before the trade deadline. Pirates first basemen, mostly Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez, are hitting a combined .256 with 15 home runs and a .430 slugging percentage.
Morneau does not have the 10 years of service that would grant him a no-trade clause, but a source said Minnesota will respect the wishes of the lifelong Twins player.
Starling Marte was scratched from the lineup Tuesday after continued soreness in his right hand, the result of a slide into third Sunday. He did not play Monday. Marte said his right ring finger took the brunt of the impact.
"We put his name down, we ran him out there, we had him throw," said Hurdle, adding Marte's hand was stepped on. "He's much improved from [Monday]. We think if we bypass him one more day from full game activity there could be a chance he could play [Wednesday]."
Bill Brink: email@example.com and Twitter @BrinkPG. First Published August 21, 2013 4:00 AM