Gorzelanny improved, on track for start
Pirates left-hander could face Braves on Saturday
PITTSBURGH -- Pirates starter Tom Gorzelanny continued to test his tight back Monday and Tuesday, and all signs point toward the left-hander being ready to take the mound against Atlanta on Saturday.Gorzelanny exited his Wednesday start in New York with tightness in his lower back and had his most recent turn in the rotation skipped for precautionary measures. The left-hander had been scheduled to start Tuesday's series opener against the Giants. After not taking his scheduled bullpen session over the weekend, Gorzelanny came out to PNC Park on the team's off-day Monday to throw long toss and did so again Tuesday. Though Gorzelanny wasn't available for comment prior to Tuesday's game due to extra on-field work and meetings scheduled by the team, manager John Russell reported that Gorzelanny felt much better afterward. While there is still some stiffness in Gorzelanny's back, the left-hander reported it to be significantly less than what he felt at the end of that Wednesday start as well as during his start on April 13. "It's very encouraging because if it continues to get better each day, that leads you to believe it's more muscle [related]," Russell said. "We'll get him on the mound and see how that goes. Everyone feels pretty confident that Saturday should be no problem." With the improvements, Gorzelanny is expected to get on the mound for a bullpen session in the next day or two. Gorzelanny has made six starts so far this season, averaging less than five innings and nearly seven runs per start. His 6.91 April ERA marked the highest month-long ERA that the 25-year-old has had as a starter in his short career.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.