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Musgrove ready to make first start Friday

Right-hander set to join tight-knit Bucs group on field
MLB.com @adamdberry

CINCINNATI -- Joe Musgrove did the rehab work. He made four starts for three different Minor League teams in the Pirates' system. He watched and waited and wondered when his time would come. Now, at last, he's prepared for his Pittsburgh debut.

After nearly two months on the disabled list due to a strained right shoulder, Musgrove will make his first start in a Pirates uniform on Friday night at PNC Park against the Cardinals. It will be the 25-year-old right-hander's first appearance in a Major League game since Oct. 31, when he worked the seventh inning of World Series Game 6 for the Astros.

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CINCINNATI -- Joe Musgrove did the rehab work. He made four starts for three different Minor League teams in the Pirates' system. He watched and waited and wondered when his time would come. Now, at last, he's prepared for his Pittsburgh debut.

After nearly two months on the disabled list due to a strained right shoulder, Musgrove will make his first start in a Pirates uniform on Friday night at PNC Park against the Cardinals. It will be the 25-year-old right-hander's first appearance in a Major League game since Oct. 31, when he worked the seventh inning of World Series Game 6 for the Astros.

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"Really excited. A little anxiousness. Butterflies are starting to kick in now," Musgrove said. "A lot of sitting down, a lot of patience, but I'm finally ready to go."

Since coming over from Houston alongside Colin Moran and Michael Feliz in the Gerrit Cole trade, Musgrove has been playing catch-up. Shoulder soreness set him back early in Spring Training. He was nearly ready to start the first week of the season, but a muscle strain made him restart the build-up process to strengthen his arm.

Musgrove pitched three innings for Class A Advanced Bradenton on May 1, four innings for Double-A Altoona on May 7, 5 2/3 innings for Triple-A Indianapolis on May 12 and five more innings in Triple-A last Friday. After all that traveling and waiting, he is stretched out, ready to come off the disabled list on Friday and able to pitch without restrictions.

"I want to be able to do my part here," Musgrove said. "We've been having a lot of fun here. Watching these guys play has been a blast. It's tough to sit down and not be a part of it."

With Musgrove in the fold, the Pirates will get their first look at the five-man rotation they envisioned entering Spring Training. Though Musgrove spent most of last season in the Astros bullpen, Pittsburgh viewed him as a starter from the moment he joined the organization. Friday will be his first start in the Majors since July 15. He owns a career 5.37 ERA over 25 starts.

"Especially when you're coming over to a new team, it's tough to sit down and not do anything, to show up every day and get a check and feel like you're not earning your money," Musgrove said. "I want to go out there and give them what they ask for."

Around the horn
• Catcher Francisco Cervelli (jammed right ring finger) was available off the bench on Thursday after exiting Wednesday's game early, manager Clint Hurdle said.

• Cervelli matched his single-season, career-high mark with his seventh home run on Wednesday night. Cervelli, who tweaked his setup and added a leg kick to his swing during Spring Training, also entered Thursday's series finale with 27 RBIs in 38 games. He set a career high in 2015 with 43 RBIs in 130 games.

Tweet from @adamdberry: Francisco Cervelli's offensive evolution this season, at age 32, has been really interesting. Good look at some key numbers from our @Statcast™ research crew... pic.twitter.com/oNcB6ns0sG

Kevin Kramer, the Pirates' No. 8 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, started at third base for Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday, his first career appearance there. Indianapolis has a crowded infield that includes Kramer, who's worked at second, third and shortstop; shortstop prospect Kevin Newman, who has also played some second base; Max Moroff, who was optioned to Triple-A on Sunday; and super-utility man Pablo Reyes, who has played second, third, shortstop and center field.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Joe Musgrove