Cole to make first rehab start on Tuesday

Cole to make first rehab start on Tuesday

ST. LOUIS -- The Pirates' recovering ace is getting closer to Pittsburgh. Right-hander Gerrit Cole will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday night, the club announced Monday.

Cole will start for Indianapolis against Louisville at Victory Field, the Pirates' Triple-A home, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. ET. He is slated to throw three innings or 50 pitches, manager Clint Hurdle said.

Cole has been on the disabled list since June 11 due to a strained right triceps. The right-hander threw a two-inning simulated game in Oakland on Friday and threw in the bullpen on Sunday.

The Pirates, looking to make a second-half run to their fourth straight postseason appearance, could use Cole back atop their rotation down the stretch. Before the injury sent Cole to the disabled list, he was 5-4 with a 2.77 ERA in 68 1/3 innings over 12 starts.

The Pirates have not provided any further timeframe for Cole's return to their rotation. If he makes two rehab starts, he would be lined up to start the Bucs' second-half opener against the Nationals on July 15.

Two more prominent Pirates will move their recovery forward as well on Tuesday. Veteran right-hander Ryan Vogelsong will throw a four-inning, 60-pitch simulated game in St. Louis, and Francisco Cervelli is expected to be behind the plate to catch it.

Vogelsong has been out since May 24, the day after he was struck in the face by a 92-mph fastball and sustained multiple facial fractures. Cervelli joined Cole on the disabled list June 11, when he underwent surgery to repair a fractured hamate bone in his left hand.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.