Pirate fans holding their breath

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Pirates are hoping Gerrit Cole will only have to miss two starts.

The Pirates put their most successful starting pitcher on the disabled list Sunday because of shoulder fatigue. The assignment was backdated to June 4, which means that Cole is eligible to return on June 19, when the Pirates wrap up a home series against Cincinnati.

Cole went to the staff after his last start and reported the problem.

“I just didn’t bounce back the way I anticipated after my last start,” Cole said.

The immediate program is to temporarily shut down throwing and take daily treatments from the training staff.

“It’s frustrating, but at the same time hopefully we can nip this in the bud as it is right now and this is the last time we have to talk about it,” Cole said.

Cole pitched into the sixth inning last week in San Diego.

“I think this is just my body letting me know we have to get this right,” Cole said. “I don’t see this as a huge issue. It needs to be taken care of. We’re on the right path. I feel much better than I did a few days ago.

“I’m just looking forward to getting back in the routine and throwing relatively soon. Get back on the horse, try to get back out there.”

Jeff Locke, who held Milwaukee to one run in seven innings of Sunday’s 1-0 loss, is taking Cole’s place in the rotation.

Slight delay

Tonight is actually Cole’s spot, but the Pirates opted to bump Charlie Morton back one day.

Manager Clint Hurdle said that Morton is working on his sinker and needed an extra day.

The unspoken part of switching Morton’s start was it gave him a chance to avoid the powerful Brewers lineup. Instead, he’ll start tonight against the Chicago Cubs.

Milwaukee’s middle-of-the-order hitters have these career averages against Morton: Ryan Braun (.444), Aramis Ramirez (.353) and Carlos Gomez (.455).

Davis sits

First baseman Ike Davis was out of Sunday’s lineup, and will also sit out the next two games, according to Hurdle.

“Ike’s been challennged offensively the last 10 days,” Hurdle said.

After batting .326 in May, Davis is hitless in 19 at bats this month, part of an overall 3-for-33 skid that has dropped his average to .244 from a season high of .285 on May 25.

“He’s working on some things,” Hurdle said. “I’m going to give him some time to work on some things.”

Gaby Sanchez is playing first base while Davis sits.

Helping hand

Russell Martin doesn’t usually start Sunday games, but he was in the lineup against the Brewers.

That was done with the idea of having Martin help Locke.

Harmful hand

A fan may have cost the Pirates the only run they gave up.

When Jonathan Lucroy grounded a ball down the third base line, a fan reached out and grabbed the ball. Lucroy was given second base because of the interference.

If the ball had not been touched, Lucroy probably would have stayed at first because left fielder Starling Marte was in position to get the ball.

“If he didn’t do that. Lucroy wouldn’t go to second base,” Marte said.

Marte returned to the lineup after sitting out four consecutive starts.