7/26/2014 8:27 P.M. ET
With lefty on the hill, Hurdle continues to rest Alvarez
By Cody Ulm / MLB.com
DENVER -- It looked like a foregone conclusion that Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez would make his return to the starting lineup Saturday. After all, he pinch-hit and played at third in Friday's 8-1 victory. But with the Pirates facing their sixth left-hander in their eighth game out of the break Saturday, manager Clint Hurdle called upon Brent Morel to make his second straight start at third.
Despite Friday's appearance being the first time he's played since tweaking his knee in the fourth inning of Tuesday's 12-7 victory over the Dodgers, Hurdle also suggested he's not quite satisfied with Alvarez's health.
"Where [Alvarez] is right now, with the health concerns, I think he's getting closer to being healthy," Hurdle said. "We'll see where it can take us once we get to San Francisco."
The Pirates draw another left-hander Sunday in the form of Franklin Morales so it seems Hurdle is set on resting Alvarez through the weekend.
Even with that being the case, Hurdle remained emphatic that he isn't planning on platooning Alvarez at the moment.
"As I said before, he played in 93 of the first 95 games so I don't think a platoon situation existed then," Hurdle said. "There were opportunities to miss a couple left-handers along the way but he didn't miss many out of the bullpen. We'll see where it takes us moving forward."
On the season, Alvarez is hitting .238 with 15 home runs and 47 RBIs. The average is a slight improvement from last year's, but he's not quite on pace for the 36 homers he hit in 2013. And when you factor in Alvarez's league-leading 22 errors as well, Hurdle may be looking to take some of the everyday pressures off his slugging third baseman.
"You look at individual player and you want to do the best you can to get them in situations where they have the most success," Hurdle said. "You also have to weigh that consistently against what's best for the team, putting your most productive nine on the field. That's what we continue to look at internally day after day."
Snider gets day off as he deals with hamstring injury
DENVER -- Pedro Alvarez's left knee injury was well-documented, but as it turns out, the Pirates were actually down two players for Friday's 8-1 loss to the Rockies.
Manager Clint Hurdle revealed Saturday that outfielder Travis Snider has been dealing with a hamstring injury since Tuesday and wasn't even available to run off the bench Friday.
Hurdle said the injury occurred when Snider attempted to lay out for the double that ended left-hander Francisco Liriano's no-hit bid in the fifth inning of Tuesday's 6-1 win over the Dodgers. Snider ended up finishing out that game, but the injury apparently worsened during the Pirates off-day Thursday.
Snider was out of the starting lineup Saturday, but Hurdle said he's made enough progress to be available off the bench.
"We were a little concerned with him yesterday, but I think he's in a better place," Hurdle said.
In 86 games this season, Snider has hit .252 (41-of-163) with five home runs, 17 RBIs and 18 runs scored.
Mending Cole now slated for two rehab starts
DENVER -- Right-hander Gerrit Cole's first rehab start Monday won't be his last as the Pirates announced Saturday their plan for him to make a second rehab outing in an effort to work him up to 100 pitches.
Cole landed on the disabled list on July 9 with right lat soreness, just two starts after returning from the right shoulder fatigue that cost him most of June. In working his way back from that previous injury, the Pirates had Cole throw three simulated games, but the 23-year-old never went out on a rehab assignment.
This time, they're not taking any chances.
"We've had that conversation," manager Clint Hurdle said. "I think we're planning on two to get him up to 100 pitches in the second one."
With Cole's first start being with Triple-A Indianapolis in Rochester on Monday, he'd be in line to pitch again Saturday when the Indians return home to face Toledo.
That timetable would put Cole in line to return to the Pirates for their series-finale against the Marlins on Aug. 7.
Cole's scheduled for 80-85 pitches Monday, putting him on pace to reach 100 on his second go. As long as all goes according to plan, he should be ready to roll nearly five weeks from when he was removed in the fifth inning of his last start against the Phillies on July 4.
Cole owns a 7-4 record and a 3.78 ERA 14 starts into his sophomore campaign. He's also struck out 78 across 85 2/3 innings.
Cody Ulm is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.