Cole anxious to return to rotation

Cole anxious to return to rotation

PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Gerrit Cole took steps toward a scheduled start against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Monday. He had a bullpen session in Pittsburgh, and he threw 32 pitches on Friday, including all of his pitch repertoire.

The Pirates will skip right-hander Jameson Taillon's scheduled start on Monday at Philadelphia, and with Cole scheduled to come off the disabled list, he is penciled in to make the start. Cole has been sidelined with posterior inflammation in his right elbow.

"Everything has gone well," Cole said. "I've been working on mechanics, just stay over the rubber and get a better load to go to the plate, try to time up the arm with the body."

Cole is 7-9 with a 3.55 ERA over 20 starts in a season that has been disrupted by three injuries: rib inflammation in the offseason, a strained right triceps in June and this right elbow inflammation. He was 0-3 with a 7.06 ERA in his past four starts before going on the disabled list.

Repeating his delivery has been a point of emphasis in his recent bullpen sessions.

"It's been something I've been struggling with all year," Cole stated. "I just haven't really been able to nail it."

With the Pirates hanging on in the National League Wild Card race, Cole is chomping at the bit to get back on the mound.

"Absolutely," Cole said. "23 games left and not out of it. You want the ball in these situations."

George Von Benko is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.