INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Indians, in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Pirates, have announced that former No. 1 overall draft pick (2011) and current Pirates ace RHP Gerrit Cole is scheduled to start for the Tribe against the Toledo Mud Hens at 7:05 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 2, as part of a major league rehabilitation assignment. Cole, who was named the Game 5 starter in last season’s National League Divisional Series, is also expected to begin his rehab assignment with a start for the Indians tonight at 7:05 p.m. in the series finale in Rochester.
The 23-year-old phenom’s rise through professional baseball has featured praise from Baseball America as the No. 1 prospect in the entire Pirates organization (2012-13), as well as ranking as high as the No. 7 overall farmhand in all of the minor leagues (2013). In addition, Cole’s pitching arsenal of a 100+ MPH heater and devastating breaking ball has also been touted by the same publication as featuring the “Best Fastball” and “Best Slider” in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization prior to both the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
Since making his highly-anticipated major league debut on June 11, 2013, Cole has gone 17-11 in 33 major league starts with Pittsburgh during the 2013 and 2014 regular seasons. He was named the National League’s Rookie of the Month for his incredible run of 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA (6 ER/32.0 IP) and 39 strikeouts over five MLB starts in September of last year, and later captained a crucial win for the Pirates in Game 2 of the NLDS against division rival St. Louis Cardinals.
Cole’s scheduled start tonight will mark the righty’s first return to action at any level since landing on the disabled list with right lat soreness on July 9 (retro to July 5). The Tribe’s 2013 first-half ace went 5-3 with an impressive 2.91 ERA (22 ER/68.0 IP) and 47 strikeouts in 12 Triple-A starts last season, and will return to the Indians boasting a still-active, 19-inning scoreless streak from shutout efforts against Buffalo (5 IP), Columbus (7.0 IP) and Durham (7.0 IP) over his final three Triple-A outings.