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Kingham's journey to bigs 'made me who I am'

Musgrove to begin rehab assignment Tuesday; Bucs' athletic starters have bench role
MLB.com @adamdberry

PITTSBURGH -- This is not how Nick Kingham envisioned reaching the Majors. Nobody draws it up like this, an eight-year road made longer by Tommy John surgery and the lengthy recovery process and, at times, bad luck. But Kingham has arrived.

Kingham joined the Pirates on Saturday and worked out at PNC Park. He was officially added to the roster on Sunday, when he will make his Major League debut against the Cardinals. Some might lament the obstacles Kingham has encountered since he was drafted nearly eight years ago. He's taken them in stride.

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PITTSBURGH -- This is not how Nick Kingham envisioned reaching the Majors. Nobody draws it up like this, an eight-year road made longer by Tommy John surgery and the lengthy recovery process and, at times, bad luck. But Kingham has arrived.

Kingham joined the Pirates on Saturday and worked out at PNC Park. He was officially added to the roster on Sunday, when he will make his Major League debut against the Cardinals. Some might lament the obstacles Kingham has encountered since he was drafted nearly eight years ago. He's taken them in stride.

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"It made me who I am today," Kingham said. "It's my path. It's my journey. It's my story. It makes me who I am. It made me prepared for this day."

The 26-year-old right-hander, the Bucs' No. 12 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, went 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA and 27 strikeouts in four starts for Triple-A Indianapolis. He added a slider to his repertoire -- which already included two- and four-seam fastballs, a changeup and a curveball -- after he left big league Spring Training and reported to Minor League camp.

"He's in as good of a place as he's ever been, just about playing the game, pitching, confidence, the things he's learned," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "I'm looking forward to seeing him pitch."

So is the Kingham family. Kingham's brother, Nolan, pitched Friday for the University of Texas against West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.V., about an hour south of Pittsburgh. His parents, Don and Roxane, will drive up with Nolan on Sunday morning to join Kingham's fiancee in the stands at PNC Park for his long-awaited debut.

"Couldn't be more excited. Couldn't be more prepared to come in and finally pitch at the big league level," Kingham said. "I'm excited. I'm ready. Let's do it."

To clear room, the Pirates designated left-hander Enny Romero for assignment.

Musgrove set for rehab assignment
Right-hander Joe Musgrove is tentatively scheduled to pitch three innings on Tuesday in a start for Class A Advanced Bradenton.

"I'm excited. I've been feeling really good," Musgrove said. "I'm prepared to do what I need to do to get back here as soon as I can."

Since the Bucs want Musgrove to throw six innings and/or 100 pitches before he joins their rotation, he likely will need to make four Minor League starts before coming off the disabled list. If Musgrove pitches every fifth day and everything goes according to plan, he could make his Pirates debut during the Bucs' series in Cincinnati from May 22-24.

Around the horn
• The Pirates sent out starter Chad Kuhl as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning of Friday's 6-5 victory. They've previously used Steven Brault as a pinch-hitter. With a four-man bench, having athletic starting pitchers is something of a necessity for Pittsburgh.

"It was actually taken into consideration when we made the initial decision. We've seen other teams do it," Hurdle said. "Brault's legit with the bat, and he's a baseball player. Kuhl has speed. We're trying to help him in his baseball awareness. … He has some usable running speed that showed up last night."

• The Pirates erased a 5-0 deficit on Friday, the first time they've made a five-run comeback and won since they beat the Brewers, 7-6, in 11 innings on Sept. 13, 2015.

• Infielder David Freese turned 35 years old on Saturday. The veteran played in his 1,000th career game on April 13.

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

Pittsburgh Pirates, Nick Kingham, Joe Musgrove