ST. LOUIS -- Chris Archer pitched a simulated game Friday afternoon at Busch Stadium and, by all accounts, his injured right thumb emerged unscathed.
"I'm not sure exactly where we go from here," Archer said afterward, "but I'm ready to pitch in a big-league game five days from now."
That's encouraging, obviously, coming right from the source. But Clint Hurdle, who hadn't yet spoken with Archer at the time Hurdle met with reporters in his office, couldn't come close to confirming any timetable.
"I'd rather talk with Chris myself," Hurdle said.
Archer's sim game saw him throw 60 pitches over four innings to Corey Dickerson, Lonnie Chisenhall and Elias Diaz. He used his full four-pitch arsenal and said none of it affected his thumb, which had become inflamed and forced him onto Major League Baseball's 10-day injury list.
"No issues," Archer said. "Zero."
In five days, the Pirates will be playing a three-game series against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix.
On a couple other fronts:
• Gregory Polanco confirmed for me that he's out of the lineup tonight because of the preset program in his return from shoulder surgery. And no, the manager has nothing to do with such a decision.
• Clay Holmes and Dovydas Neverauskas are both still with the team, against all odds, but neither is expected to be available tonight. On the iffy list are Francisco Liriano and Michael Feliz.