Pirates notebook: Injured Rodriguez not pondering future yet

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Wandy Rodriguez will not pitch again this season after 31/2 months of rest and rehabilitation could not remove the pain in his left forearm.

"I don't feel 100 percent pain-free, so I don't think I can go out there and give my best to the team," said Rodriguez, with bullpen coach Euclides Rojas translating.

Rodriguez, 34, went on the disabled list June 11, retroactive to June 6, because of an injury to the flexor tendon in his left forearm. Rodriguez subsequently went on two different rehabilitation assignments, received a platelet-rich plasma injection and sought a second opinion from noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

Rodriguez said Andrews, through Rodriguez's agent, recommended a cortisone injection, but Rodriguez will not receive one.

"The cortisone is only to kill the pain but it is not to heal the real injury," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said he will try another PRP injection.

Rodriguez holds a $13 million player option for the 2014 season, though the Houston Astros are paying $5.5 million of that. He said he has not thought about whether to exercise the option.

"The more important thing is the health of my arm," he said. "That's what I'll focus on. I'm not even thinking about that."

Manager Clint Hurdle said Rodriguez's option did not play a role in the decision to shut him down.

"The only thing that factored into it was Wandy's health," he said.

Rodriguez met with Hurdle, general manager Neal Huntington, head trainer Todd Tomczyk and Kiyoshi Momose, a Latin American strength and conditioning coordinator to discuss his options.

"He's put so much into this," Hurdle said. "He's worked so very hard to try to get in a position to pitch again because of the want to help the team, but he continues to pitch with pain and discomfort."

Earlier this month, Rodriguez said Andrews diagnosed arthritis in his left forearm.

He has pitched in the majors for nine seasons and made at least 30 starts in five of them. This season, he started 12 games. He left his most recent start, June 5, after one-third of an inning when he allowed one run on two hits. In 622/3 innings, Rodriguez went 6-4 with a 3.59 ERA.

"We're going to turn our focus to 2014 and let him heal," Hurdle said.

The Pirates have starters Francisco Liriano, Jeff Locke, Charlie Morton and Gerrit Cole under contractual control in 2014. They also have top prospect Jameson Taillon not far off. Despite missing Rodriguez for 31/2 months, the Pirates starters had a 3.56 ERA entering a game Saturday night against the Chicago Cubs, the fifth-best mark in the majors.

Marte tests hand

Starling Marte hit game-speed pitches from Kris Johnson earlier Saturday in an attempt to test his right hand.

"I think what we're trying to get him to understand is he's not going to be pain-free," Hurdle said. "There's not going to be a pain-free day from this point in.

"If we want to wait for it to go away, we're probably talking 2014."

The Pirates have gone 13-11 since Aug. 18, the previous time Marte had a plate appearance.

"We could be ready to get him some real game at-bats," Hurdle said. "He might need another day."


Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com and on Twitter @BrinkPG.


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