General manager Neal Huntington said prior to Saturday's Grapefruit League game against the Orioles that Lyles (side) still has the "inside track" on the final opening in Pittsburgh's rotation, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports. Lyles likely strengthened his hold on the No. 5 gig by turning in a solid, if unspectacular showing Saturday, scattering three runs on seven hits over five innings while walking none and striking out five. Assuming Lyles reports no renewed pain in his side coming out of the outing, he should enter the season with no pitch-count limitations after working deep into Saturday's start. One of Steven Brault and Nick Kingham, the other competitors for the final rotation spot, will likely handle a long-relief role if Lyles' health isn't a concern.
Lyles (side) is scheduled to start Saturday's split-squad game against the Phillies, John Perrotto of DKPittsburghSports.com reports. Lyles threw a four-inning, 60-pitch simulated game Monday, clearing the way for his return to Grapefruit League action. The 28-year-old is the leading candidate to begin the season as the Pirates' fifth starter, assuming all goes well Saturday.
Lyles (side) threw a successful four-inning simulated game Monday, John Perrotto of DKPittsburghSports.com reports. Lyles, who was removed from his previous Grapefruit League appearance due to a side cramp, fired 60 pitches in Monday's session and reported no issues afterwards. Assuming he checks out OK in the coming days, Lyles could rejoin the rotation later in the week. He's the leading candidate to open the season as the Pirates' fifth starter.
Lyles (side) is scheduled to throw a four-inning simulated game Monday, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports. Lyles was removed from his previous Grapefruit League appearance because of a side cramp, but the issue hasn't significantly affected his schedule. Rather than pitch in a spring game Monday, Lyles will fire four simulated innings on a back field. Assuming everything goes off without a hitch, the right-hander could rejoin the rotation later in the week. Lyles has a good chance to open the season as Pittsburgh's fifth starter if he proves healthy.
Lyles (side) was cleared to play catch Thursday, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports. Lyles exited his Grapefruit League appearance Tuesday after experiencing a side cramp, but the injury doesn't look like anything that will derail his chances of winning a spot in the Pirates' season-opening rotation. The righty should advance to mound work this weekend and could even resume facing hitters.