One of the primary narratives of the 2013 Pirates season will be purely anticipatory, with potential future ace Gerrit Cole starting the spring with Pittsburgh’s Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis.
As the first overall selection of the 2011 MLB amateur draft, Cole is used to attracting attention. That level of hype will only increase as he lingers one step away from his Pirates debut.
The wait for Cole to bring his devastating stuff to Pittsburgh may not be long, though. As reported by the Bleacher Report’s Will Carroll, Cole will not start on opening day for the Indianapolis Indians, as one might expect for a pitcher of his ability:
Opening Day in Indy won’t be Cole vs Bauer. Cole’s being matched up with 5 starter for Pittsburgh, which says he won’t be around long.
— Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) April 2, 2013
As Carroll tweets, Cole will take the mound Saturday for the Indians, the same night Pirates No. 5 starter Jeff Locke will start in Los Angeles. Carroll speculates that this arrangement indicates the Pirates plan on calling Cole up sooner rather than later, as he would be able to slot into the back end of the rotation without altering his throwing schedule.
That may indeed be the case, or it could be that starting Saturday keeps Cole on his workout plan from spring training, as Pirates Prospects editor Tim Williams reminds us.
At any rate, this bit of minor news continues to stoke the fire, keeping the 22-year-old Cole in the front of mind for Pirates fans. Especially if Jonathan Sanchez, Locke or even James McDonald starts the season poorly, more and more eyes will turn to Indianapolis and the Bucs’ big righthanded gun.