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Musgrove set to officially start Pirates career

Pitcher celebrates with Astros at White House; will take mound for first start Thursday
MLB.com @adamdberry

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Right-hander Joe Musgrove will make his first official appearance with the Pirates on Thursday, when he's set to start against the Yankees at Steinbrenner Field. But first, he enjoyed the final, celebratory chapter of his time with the Astros.

Musgrove returned to Pirates camp on Wednesday after joining the reigning World Series champions for their day at the White House on Monday. Musgrove's first trip to the White House was "incredible," he said, even if part of it was a little bittersweet.

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- Right-hander Joe Musgrove will make his first official appearance with the Pirates on Thursday, when he's set to start against the Yankees at Steinbrenner Field. But first, he enjoyed the final, celebratory chapter of his time with the Astros.

Musgrove returned to Pirates camp on Wednesday after joining the reigning World Series champions for their day at the White House on Monday. Musgrove's first trip to the White House was "incredible," he said, even if part of it was a little bittersweet.

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"It was a weird feeling leaving, realizing that was the final time I'd see everybody for a little while," he said. "Teams change every year, whether it's one person or a handful, but that team I was on was pretty special. It was nice to get to spend one last time with everybody."

The team spent time in the Oval Office, taking pictures with President Donald Trump behind the historic Resolute desk. Their visit also included a tour of the East Wing, and the Roosevelt Room in the West Wing.

"We were looking for trap doors in every room, pulling books and candlesticks," Musgrove said, laughing. "We didn't find any."

The Astros were recognized and honored during a ceremony with the president in the East Room.

Spring Training info

"It was really cool, getting to stand up on the risers and have the president speak so highly of us. Brought back a lot of memories," Musgrove said. "It's tough to stand up there and listen to him talk about how they plan on winning it again when I'm leaving. But I enjoyed my time there, and I was really grateful to be able to win a World Series when I was with them, and learn from some of the guys that were there."

Musgrove played a key role in Houston's bullpen last season, and picked up the win in World Series Game 5. Having joined the Pirates two months ago as part of the Gerrit Cole trade, he will return to the rotation with the Bucs this year.

For now, he will make his Grapefruit League debut against the Yankees. Slowed down earlier this spring by right shoulder discomfort, Musgrove is expected to throw three innings on Thursday, after working two innings in a Minor League intrasquad game last Friday.

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"I'm excited to get out there and see some live action," he said. "I've had a lot of time to get my arm in shape -- rest and stuff. I've taken advantage of that, taken the rest for what it is. My body feels pretty good right now."

Injury updates
Right-hander A.J. Schugel (shoulder discomfort) played catch on Wednesday, director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said. Schugel had been shut down since leaving his Feb. 25 outing early.

Tyler Glasnow, who missed his scheduled start on Monday due to flu-like symptoms, is slated to throw a bullpen session on Thursday. Rule 5 Draft pick Nick Burdi is amid what Tomczyk called a "spring break" during the lengthy Tommy John rehabilitation process, throwing at a lower intensity for a predetermined five-to-seven-day period. Non-roster right-hander Bo Schultz, also returning from Tommy John surgery, is throwing simulated games.

Camp battles
Bryce Brentz, competing for a bench spot, drew a walk in a pinch-hitting appearance during the Pirates 9-3 loss to the Rays. Right-hander Nick Kingham, likely bound for the Triple-A Indianapolis rotation to begin the season, was charged with four runs on three hits and a walk while recording two outs in his first relief appearance of the spring. The Rays scored an unearned run off non-roster righty Casey Sadler, who permitted three hits in 1 1/3 innings.

Up next
The Pirates will head north to Tampa, Fla., to play the Yankees at 1:05 p.m on Thursday. ET. After Musgrove starts, Pittsburgh is scheduled to send closer Felipe Rivero and bullpen candidates Kyle Crick, Kevin Siegrist and Dovydas Neverauskas to the mound with catcher Francisco Cervelli behind the plate. Watch the game live on MLB.TV.

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