MINNEAPOLIS -- The right groin strain that sidelined reliever Donnie Veal at the end of May is all but gone, but that doesn't mean Veal's return to Pittsburgh is imminent.
Though general manager Neal Huntington confirmed that Veal is healthy enough to be reinstated from the disabled list, Huntington said that because of some mechanical struggles Veal had during his Minor League rehab stint, no return date has yet been set.
Veal began his rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis on June 8 and, per the rule, the Pirates can keep him on the assignment for up to 30 days. The club will likely maximize that time.
The right-hander has made four appearances with the Indians, logging 6 1/3 innings and allowing three runs on five hits. The biggest concern, though, has been his rapidly escalating walk total. While Veal has struck out six, he's walked 10 in those four appearances.
There are some obvious benefits to drawing out the length of Veal's Triple-A assignment. Manager John Russell has had significantly more flexibility in his bullpen since Steven Jackson took Veal's relief role. While Veal was used exclusively in games that got out of hand early, Russell has been able to call on Jackson at will.
"He's done well," Russell said of Jackson, who has made eight appearances since being called up. "He's a guy that can get us a ground ball. He doesn't seem to be at all intimidated when he comes into a game. He pitched in the middle of the game, late in game, in tie games. He continues to go out there and throw strikes and to induce contact."
Furthermore, the extended time in Triple-A will give Veal more experience pitching at a level he certainly would have started the season at if it hadn't been for his status as a Rule 5 selection. He can work out some mechanical issues in a place where it doesn't put the success of the big league club in jeopardy.
As for the other injured members of the Pirates' bullpen -- Craig Hansen (neck/back spasms) and Tyler Yates (right elbow inflammation) -- neither has resumed throwing yet.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.