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Agrazal to make MLB debut vs. Miami

Williams pitched three innings in Triple-A; Lyles set for bullpen session
June 15, 2019

MIAMI -- Six months after being designated for assignment by Pittsburgh, right-hander Dario Agrazal will make his Major League debut for the Pirates on Saturday night in a start against Miami at Marlins Park. Agrazal has been in the Minor Leagues for seven seasons -- all with the Pirates’ organization

MIAMI -- Six months after being designated for assignment by Pittsburgh, right-hander Dario Agrazal will make his Major League debut for the Pirates on Saturday night in a start against Miami at Marlins Park.

Agrazal has been in the Minor Leagues for seven seasons -- all with the Pirates’ organization -- going 38-34 with a 3.45 ERA.

“The journey has been challenging,” Agrazal said through an interpreter before the Pirates’ 11-0 win over the Marlins on Friday night. “It’s felt long, but those are just the things you go through as a ballplayer. But I’m here and grateful to be here, and grateful for the organization to trust me to have this opportunity.”

Joe Musgrove had been scheduled to start on Saturday, but he was ejected from Monday's game after grazing the Braves' Josh Donaldson with a pitch having recorded only two outs. He then started Thursday's series finale vs. Atlanta and pitched four-plus innings, leaving his normal turn on Saturday up for grabs. With the rotation racked with injuries, Pittsburgh had to look elsewhere for a starting pitcher.

Agrazal was scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday, which put him in line to go for the Pirates in Miami instead.

“We don't have a starter, No. 1. We decided against going with a bullpen by committee. No. 2, based on how the bullpen usage has been, pretty self-explanatory,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “Really, Dario has probably put himself in the best position to be the next guy up. We thought a lot of him in his development years, put him on the 40-man [roster], had to take him off and he stayed focused.

“He's continued to work, he’s continued to make pitches. He’s had some good starts. We'll see how that translates with the opportunity here; however, he was by far and away the only choice.”

Once on Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster, Agrazal was removed in January before being re-invited to big league camp.

Between the Double-A and Triple-A levels this season, the 24-year-old Agrazal has gone 5-3 with a 3.27 ERA in 12 starts. He got promoted to Indianapolis on April 29, compiling a 4-2 record with a 3.10 ERA in 49 1/3 innings.

Hurdle discussed how Agrazal has been able to find success with a five-pitch arsenal that consists of two- and four-seam fastballs, a changeup, a curveball and a slider, which Hurdle called Agrazal’s best secondary offering.

“The fact he got taken off the 40-man [roster] didn't define him,” Hurdle said. “The work after has defined him and now look: He's on the 40-man and he's going to pitch in the big leagues, which probably the day he got designated, was probably one of the furthest things in his mind. Or maybe he kept that in his mind and it became a goal and now it's a realization. He deserves some credit.”

Agrazal, who received the news on Thursday night, will not have his parents at his Major League debut but will be cheered on by his wife and daughter in the crowd. He will be the 12th player from Panama to represent the Pirates.

“My country has shown so much support for me,” Agrazal said. “Everyone is so happy back home for me to be able to accomplish this and be up here. My country has my back and is behind me.”

Williams update

On the injured list since May 17 with a right side strain, Trevor Williams made his first rehab outing on Thursday for Indianapolis, giving up two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and one walk over three innings. Williams finished up in the bullpen to get his pitch count around 90.

“Yesterday went well, there are no residuals,” Williams said. “I felt strong yesterday, threw all my pitches and did what I wanted to do.”

Williams treated Friday as a typical day after a start by lifting and throwing. He hopes to return next week, but said, “It’s something they haven’t discussed yet.”

“He needed to make that start and we're figuring out, scheduling what's next for him right now,” Hurdle said.

Worth noting

Jordan Lyles, who is on the injured list with left hamstring tightness, will throw a bullpen session of 30-45 pitches on Saturday.