PHOENIX -- Cognizant of his struggles this season, Ernesto Frieri is a realist.
"My ERA is like 100-point-something," he said Saturday. "I don't want to be putting people on base right now."
It is 7.08, and 9.31 with the Pirates, but his point stands: He did not want to hit Arizona Diamondbacks All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt in the hand Friday night, which resulted in a broken left ring finger that sent Goldschmidt to the disabled list. Such are the hazards of attempting to own the inside part of the plate, a pillar of the Pirates' pitching program they attempted to instill in Frieri after acquiring him.
Intentional or not, Goldschmidt is out for a while, and the Diamondbacks were upset. First-base coach Dave McKay yelled at Pirates catcher Russell Martin after the game ended about the incident, which came when the Pirates had a five-run lead in the ninth and Goldschmidt was pinch-hitting after a scheduled off day. The teams converged on the field, but nothing came of it.
"The Pirates as a staff, they pitch inside as much as, or more than, anybody," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said.
The Pirates hit 61 opposing batters this season entering the game Saturday, 13 more than any other team.
"We're going to pitch the way we believe we need to pitch to be effective, to get outs," manager Clint Hurdle said.
Frieri said he lived on the outside corner while with the Los Angeles Angels. When the Pirates acquired him, they told him to establish himself on the inner part of the plate.
"I love it," he said. "Don't get me wrong, I love it. I'm going to keep doing it."
Goldschmidt downplayed the situation.
"Guys get hit," he said. "It's part of the game. I think he's probably trying to make a pitch and missed his spot a little bit and it ends up getting in, so it's just part of it."
Cole evaluation continues
Gerrit Cole threw a bullpen session with Class AAA Indianapolis, the latest step in his rehabilitation of the sore right latissimus dorsi muscle in his back that sent him to the disabled list.
"He's trying to find a way to get back to feeling what he's felt before he had the initial setback," Hurdle said. "Repeating the delivery, the different feels of the slider slot, the curveball slot, the changeup."
Cole was tentatively scheduled to make a second rehabilitation start with Indianapolis Saturday, but he and the Pirates opted for a side session.
"We've told him we want him to take the appropriate time and be honest in his evaluation of what he's feeling, how the ball's coming out of his hand, so when he gets back here he's able to throw it in the gear he wants to throw it into and get after it," Hurdle said.
The Pirates plan to evaluate Cole today and determine his next step, which could be another bullpen session or a rehabilitation start.
The Pirates removed Neil Walker from the lineup Saturday before the game because of tightness in his back.
In the second half of the 2012 season, Walker missed significant time because of a herniated disc in his lower back that eventually ended his season early.
Bill Brink: email@example.com and Twitter @BrinkPG.
First Published July 31, 2014 9:00 PM