PITTSBURGH -- Top prospect Tyler Glasnow pitched in a simulated game at PNC Park on Tuesday afternoon, a significant step toward getting back into a real game.Glasnow threw 50 pitches in three simulated innings, facing Adam Frazier, Eric Fryer and Chris Stewart, who caught Glasnow for most of the session.
PITTSBURGH -- Top prospect Tyler Glasnow pitched in a simulated game at PNC Park on Tuesday afternoon, a significant step toward getting back into a real game.
Glasnow threw 50 pitches in three simulated innings, facing Adam Frazier, Eric Fryer and Chris Stewart, who caught Glasnow for most of the session. Glasnow has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 24 due to right shoulder discomfort.
"This felt normal, felt good," Glasnow said. "I feel ahead of where I thought I would be. I'm just excited to get on the mound again."
Glasnow was eligible to come off the DL on Monday. Instead, he will throw another bullpen session and head out on a Minor League rehab assignment, most likely beginning with Double-A Altoona.
Glasnow left his second Major League start early due to the injury, a bitter end to a disappointing outing. The 22-year-old righty allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits, three walks and two hit batters while striking out two. Glasnow also allowed five stolen bases in three innings.
It's not clear if Glasnow will return to the Majors when he's healthy or if he will be optioned back to Triple-A Indianapolis. The Pirates appear to have four starters set in stone for the stretch run: Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Ivan Nova and Ryan Vogelsong.
Pittsburgh's rotation got a little younger Tuesday when right-hander Chad Kuhl joined the mix. General manager Neal Huntington said Sunday that Kuhl will have a chance to claim the job. Left-hander Steven Brault, who fared well in his two Major League starts, remains an option in Triple-A if the Pirates need another starter.
Stewart, sidelined by persistent left knee pain, caught two innings of Glasnow's simulated game before taking an at-bat in the third inning. Stewart was eligible to return on July 17, but the Pirates have been cautious in his recovery, mindful that career-threatening surgery is an option if he doesn't come back healthy.
"We're monitoring his rehab," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We're doing different things to push him, stretch him out. I don't think anything's imminent."
To make room for Kuhl, the Pirates optioned reliever Curtis Partch to Triple-A. Partch recorded two outs in Pittsburgh's 7-3 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday, walking a batter while lowering his season ERA from infinity to 40.50.
Leading off, cleaning up
Josh Harrison remained atop the order, as expected, after batting leadoff all weekend. Hurdle pointed to Harrison's comfort and performance -- .305/.343/.460 in 172 games (163 starts) as the leadoff man -- and John Jaso, their primary first-half leadoff hitter, is batting .130 since the All-Star break.
After sitting out all weekend due to left shoulder discomfort, right fielder Gregory Polanco returned to the lineup, albeit in a different spot. Polanco found himself batting fourth behind Harrison, Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen.
Tuesday was Polanco's first Major League start in the cleanup spot. Polanco entered the game with 15 home runs, tied with McCutchen for the team lead.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.