BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole has been dealing with inflammation in his right rib since mid-January, at least temporarily setting back his Spring Training progression.
Cole said he sustained the injury during his "normal training" this offseason. He is on a slightly modified throwing program, according to head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk.
"It just got to a point where we needed to take a step back in order to come here and have both feet on the ground and move forward," Cole said. "I'm not too far behind everybody else, but I feel good."
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Cole is scheduled to throw from the slope of the mound Monday, Tomczyk said, and Cole expects to pitch off the mound "early next week."
Cole, a 2015 All-Star who finished fourth in the National League Cy Young Award voting, played catch at Pirate City on Friday during the Pirates' first workout for pitchers and catchers.
Asked if he can feel the inflammation when he throws, Cole responded, "It's definitely not prohibiting anything." But he hasn't yet progressed to throwing off the bullpen mound, as half of the Pirates pitchers in camp did Friday morning.
Neither Cole nor Tomczyk specified the cause of the inflammation. Cole said he hasn't experienced any previous injuries in the area.
"There's just inflammation on the rib. It wasn't really any specific kind of thing," Cole said. "The rib was inflamed, we got it calmed down and we're moving in the right direction."