Ben Cherington spoke Sunday on his weekly radio show, and one of the topics was relief pitcher Anthony Banda. Banda threw a simulated game on the field Sunday as the grounds crew worked on the field in the rain.
“[Banda] is very close to being ready,” said Cherington. “He did, in fact, throw a sim game today, and his velocity looked good. He was one of the guys that was fighting an illness. In Banda’s case, it was a little more serious with the early stages of pneumonia. Banda is now recovered from his illness and is starting to feel good, hopefully he’s back on the road trip.”
Banda was placed on the 10-day IL back on April 26th retroactive to the 23rd. If all goes well and on schedule, Banda will be eligible to come off the IL on May 3rd. Prior to Banda’s illness, he was pitching effectively with his changeup. Opponents expected batting average and slugging are rather impressive at .171 and .245.
The Pirates are obligated to cut their rosters down from 28 to 26 on Tuesday, and once Banda is activated off the IL, you start to wonder who will be optioned or DFAd. Logic points to Beau Sulser, who currently has three options left.