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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Former Gonzaga pitcher Marco Gonzales take positive steps in recovery with Pirates’ bullpen sessions

Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Marco Gonzales, a former Gonzaga standout, is nearing a return from a forearm injury that has held him out since early April.  (Getty Images)
By Andrew Destin Tribune News Service

ST. LOUIS – Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Marco Gonzales completed a 20-pitch bullpen session Wednesday afternoon, his first time throwing off the mound since landing on the 60-day injured list.

Gonzales, the former Gonzaga standout, hadn’t pitched off a mound since April 13 because of a left forearm strain.

Gonzales is still expected to compete for the Pirates in 2024, and Wednesday afternoon was a significant step forward in that process. He joined fellow lefty Ryan Borucki – out since April 5 with left triceps inflammation – in the session.

“Anytime we can start to get guys – pitchers that are on the IL – off the mound, off the slope, working down, those are big days for us,” manager Derek Shelton said. “And I think as we’ve always talked about, tomorrow will be big for us to see how they recover.”

Coming off an injury-plagued season with Seattle, Gonzales initially looked to have been a shrewd offseason pick-up by general manager Ben Cherington. He provided quality starts in two of his first three appearances for the Pirates, but that’s as much as Gonzales has been able to pitch due to his injury.

Given the Pirates’ suddenly diminished starting rotation depth with Quinn Priester and Martin Perez also on the injured list, Gonzales inching closer to again pitching competitively is as encouraging.

“It’s nice to get (him) off the mound,” Shelton said.