Musgrove still on the shelf

By John Mehno

For the Mirror

PITTSBURGH — Joe Musgrove won’t be in the Pirates’ rotation for another week or two.

General manager Neal Huntington said Sunday that Musgrove will probably have to make a couple of minor league rehab starts before he can return from the shoulder strain that landed him on the disabled list.

Musgrove was told not to do any throwing last week. He is scheduled to throw from flat ground before today’s game in Chicago.

Musgrove, who was acquired from Houston in the Gerrit Cole trade, was late to start spring training because of shoulder problems.

Huntington said the current issue is a different one.

“He feels like he’s fatiguing quicker than he would like to,” Huntington said. “The bounce-back is not where he would like it to be as far as the next day or throwing his sideline the second day after.”

Musgrove pitched in relief for Houston last season and was effective after he was moved there in the second half of the season. Huntington said the Pirates still plan to use Musgrove as a starter.

“Joe was a solid major league starter in the second half of 2016,” Huntington said. “Last year he struggled early, had a DL stint, then came back and pitched great out of the bullpen in a high leverage role. We’re looking forward to him taking those experiences in the bullpen into starting.”

Huntington said the Pirates are confident Musgrove will be part of the rotation.

“It needs time,” he said. “It’s something he could compete through. But rather than risk damage we wanted to get the strain out of there and let him get back to as close to 100 percent as possible.”

Still waiting

Huntington said there’s been no movement on the situation with veteran left handed reliever Kevin Siegrist.

Siegrist is on the suspended list of Class AAA Indianapolis after he refused to report to the minor leagues at the end of spring training.

Huntington said the Pirates followed the terms of the contract Siegrist signed on Feb. 24. The Pirates sent an e-mail to the other 29 major league teams to see if they had any interest in adding Siegrist to their 25-man roster.

No team showed any interest so per the contract, the Pirates were able to assign him to Indianapolis.

“It’s nothing Pittsburgh-centric,” Huntington said. “It’s that he believes he’s a major league pitcher and believes he should be in the big leagues. He has no interest in pitching in the minor leagues at this point.”

Huntington said the team’s contact with Siegrist has been limited.

“We still have interest in him,” Huntington said. “We believe he needs to build arm strength and the best way to do that was go to Triple A and get consistent work. He had no interest in doing that.

“If he wants to pitch anywhere in the minor leagues, he has to come back to us. If we still have interest, and I anticipate that we do, he can come pitch in the minor leagues for us. We hope he changes his mind. We hope he’ll come back and earn his way back to the major leagues with us.”

Well done

The clubhouse TVs are always showing highlights, so everyone knew the big stories in MLB from Saturday.

Two former Pirates had notable performances with their new teams — Cole had his second consecutive 11-strikeout performance for the Astros and Andrew McCutchen had the first six-hit game of his career. His last hit was a walk-off three-run home run.

“I’m happy for all of our players,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Good for (Cole) and wonderful for Andrew. Good for both of them.”

Moving out

The Pirates start a stretch that will have them on the road for 10 of the next 13 games.

They open a three-game series this afternoon at 2:20 in Chicago, the Cubs’ home opener.

There will be no immediate relief from the blustery weather. The projected high in Chicago this afternoon is 37 degrees. It is expected to warm up, though, and the high is forecast to be 65 for Thursday afternoon’s game.

Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com

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