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David Bednar Encouraged By Live Batting Practice Session



David Bednar took a significant step towards returning to the Pittsburgh Pirates’ active roster Saturday.

The All-Star closer threw live batting practice before the Pirates played the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park. It was the first time he had faced hitters since going on the injured list July 30 with lower back inflammation.

Bednar threw approximately 20 pitches. He made the situation as close to a real game as possible, wearing his full uniform and jogging in from the bullpen to the mound at the start.

Bednar said he was pain-free.

“We’re in a much better spot,” Bednar said. “Throwing now, (the back) is not even a thought. I’m just looking forward to going back out there and competing again.

“I was just filling it up and I was all around the zone. Just what I was most happy with. Stuff was sharp. Looking forward to getting into a game soon.”

The Pirates will have Bednar go on a rehab assignment in the minor leagues before activating him. They have not yet set a timetable for when he might be ready to pitch in a game.

Bednar is having a fine season with 17 saves and a 2.70 ERA in 40 relief appearances. He is anxious to return to the active roster.

“It’s really frustrating,” Bednar said. “I want to be out there with the guys and competing. I always want the ball, so when those kinds of chances come up (when I’m) on the IL, it stinks. I’m looking forward to getting back out there.”

Pirates manager Derek Shelton will be glad to have Bednar back in his bullpen.

“I think it’s extremely significant,” Shelton said of the impact of not having Bednar. “When you lose the guy that pitches from the back end moving forward, it reshuffles how you use your group.

“The negative side of that is we have an All-Star closer that we’ve not been able to use. On the flip side of it, being the optimist, now we’ve gotten to look at (relievers) in different roles. But I will be excited to have him back.”

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