Kang, Cole continue to build strength

Duo progressing in recoveries, nearing full-go in camp

Kang, Cole continue to build strength

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Rain forced the Pirates to adjust their Wednesday morning workout plans, pushing them off Pirate City's fields and into the indoor batting cages. Meanwhile, two key Pirates continued to make progress in their respective recoveries.

Right-hander Gerrit Cole threw off the mound with "no restrictions," head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk said, and third baseman Jung Ho Kang took batting practice in the indoor cages.

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Cole entered camp dealing with right rib inflammation but has now thrown off the mound twice, this time with no reservations. Asked if he had any concern about Cole's inflammation flaring back up, Tomczyk responded, "None."

Cole is not yet cleared to throw live batting practice along with the rest of the Pirates pitching staff, but he should be once he finishes his progression of bullpen sessions.

After tracking pitches on the field Tuesday during live BP, Kang hit against batting-practice-speed pitches in the cage Wednesday. He has been cleared to swing, but he is not yet ready for baserunning drills or violent movements as he builds up strength in his surgically repaired left leg.

"You've got to get strength before you get the power," Tomczyk said. "He's still working through those steps."

Overall, manager Clint Hurdle said he was pleased with what the Pirates were able to accomplish Wednesday despite the inclement weather.

"It kept us from doing a couple things, but I thought we absolutely maximized the opportunities we had," Hurdle said. "We had a great day. We did as much work as we possibly could have done indoors."

Around the horn
• Live batting practice Wednesday took place indoors. While it's not quite the same as hitting on the field, Hurdle was pleased the Pirates were able to keep their pitchers on schedule.

"The most important part of Spring Training is getting arms ready," Hurdle said. "Guys got ready. They threw their innings."

• Non-roster left-hander Cory Luebke, who signed a Minor League deal hoping to earn a spot in the bullpen, has been diagnosed with a right hamstring strain, Tomczyk said. Luebke's injury, suffered during pitchers' fielding practice, was initially listed as right hamstring discomfort. Luebke is limited for now to flat-ground throwing.

• Outfielder Antoan Richardson, a non-roster invitee who entered camp recovering from a right foot fracture, has been cleared for baseball activities but not agility drills.

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.