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Bucs prospect Newman debuts at shortstop

Mercer to DL; Luplow recalled; Stallings optioned; Sadler DFA'd
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- With Jordy Mercer injured, the Pirates called up their potential shortstop of the future on Thursday.

The Pirates selected the contract of infielder Kevin Newman, their first-round Draft pick in 2015, amid a series of roster moves before Thursday's series opener against the Cubs at PNC Park. Newman made his Major League debut in the ninth inning of Pittsburgh's 1-0 loss, entering the game as a defensive replacement at shortstop.

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PITTSBURGH -- With Jordy Mercer injured, the Pirates called up their potential shortstop of the future on Thursday.

The Pirates selected the contract of infielder Kevin Newman, their first-round Draft pick in 2015, amid a series of roster moves before Thursday's series opener against the Cubs at PNC Park. Newman made his Major League debut in the ninth inning of Pittsburgh's 1-0 loss, entering the game as a defensive replacement at shortstop.

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"It's a dream come true. This is what every baseball player strives for and wants to get to," Newman said. "To be here and be in this clubhouse with these guys, it's really exciting. I look forward to it."

Video: Newman talks about being called up to the Pirates

Mercer was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a left calf strain, which he sustained Tuesday night in Minnesota. Putting Mercer on the DL allowed the Bucs to quickly recall outfielder Jordan Luplow, who was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday.

With catchers Francisco Cervelli and Elias Diaz in good health, the Pirates also optioned catcher Jacob Stallings to Triple-A. Right-hander Casey Sadler was designated for assignment to make room for Newman on Pittsburgh's 40-man roster.

Newman learned of his promotion from Triple-A manager Brian Esposito after Indianapolis' doubleheader on Wednesday night. His first call was to his wife, Shayne, who caught a red-eye flight from California and arrived at PNC Park on Thursday along with Newman's parents, John and Tammy, and sister Fallon.

"Got a pretty good reaction out of her," Newman said, smiling. "She was really happy, screaming on the phone. It was great."

Newman was not in Pittsburgh's starting lineup on Thursday -- veteran Adeiny Hechavarria got the nod behind Ivan Nova -- but the 25-year-old will get a chance to play while Mercer is sidelined. Newman, the Bucs' No. 6 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was hitting .302/.350/.407 with 30 doubles, four homers, 35 RBIs and 28 steals in 109 games this season for Indianapolis.

Newman heated up just before his promotion, batting .366 in his final 10 games for Indianapolis. That stretch included a 5-for-5 performance on Aug. 7 during which Newman and Stallings both hit for the cycle. Newman is regarded as a high-average hitter who makes consistent contact, and his steady middle-infield defense has improved this season.

"I think he's the most dependable shortstop that we could call up," manager Clint Hurdle said. "From Opening Day until now, he's improved every facet of his game. He hasn't blinked when other people have been called up."

But Newman made a fairly quick climb through the Pirates' system. A year and a half after being drafted 19th overall, he was invited to big league Spring Training camp. Last July, he made the leap to Triple-A. A little more than three years after his professional debut, Newman found his No. 27 jersey in the Pirates' clubhouse.

"It happened in its own time. It happened when it needed to happen," Newman said. "The Pirates felt that I was ready. I've worked hard, and thankfully they selected me and brought me up here."

Mercer will be a free agent at the end of the season, and Newman is in line to take over as the everyday shortstop as soon as next year. Assuming Newman remains in Pittsburgh the rest of the year, he can continue to learn from Mercer as Mercer once learned from Clint Barmes.

"This is another one of our own guys. Jordy was one of our guys. So there's a kindred spirit there, I believe, that's special as well," Hurdle said. "They've already spent some time together, and there'll be more dialogue with Jordy while he's here that will help. I know it will help."

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

Pittsburgh Pirates, Jordan Luplow, Jordy Mercer, Kevin Newman

Bucs send Baz to Rays to cap Archer deal

Right-hander was Pirates' No. 4 prospect
MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- General manager Neal Huntington said on July 31 that the Pirates agreed to send a "significant" prospect to the Rays to complete their trade for Chris Archer, and his words proved to be true on Tuesday.

The Pirates completed their blockbuster trade for Archer by sending right-hander Shane Baz, their No. 4 prospect, to the Rays. Baz, a 19-year-old right-hander from Texas, was the Pirates' first-round Draft pick (12th overall) last year and signed for $4.1 million. He was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 95 prospect in baseball.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- General manager Neal Huntington said on July 31 that the Pirates agreed to send a "significant" prospect to the Rays to complete their trade for Chris Archer, and his words proved to be true on Tuesday.

The Pirates completed their blockbuster trade for Archer by sending right-hander Shane Baz, their No. 4 prospect, to the Rays. Baz, a 19-year-old right-hander from Texas, was the Pirates' first-round Draft pick (12th overall) last year and signed for $4.1 million. He was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 95 prospect in baseball.

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The Pirates gave up Baz along with outfielder Austin Meadows and right-hander Tyler Glasnow, but they felt that was the cost necessary to acquire a proven starter with top-of-the-rotation stuff like Archer.

"We're excited to have Archer, and we knew that Archer's price tag was going to be high," manager Clint Hurdle said on Tuesday. "We wish [Baz] nothing but good things. I hope it turns out to be a great trade for both sides. The other hard part is not every Minor League prospect ever pans out to be a great Major League pitcher. You just don't know. We love the kid. We love the development, the progress, the track that he was on -- just as we did with Glasnow, just as we did with Meadows."

Baz was 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings over 10 starts this season for Rookie-level Bristol. His last two starts, both made since the Trade Deadline deal, were perhaps the best of his young career. Baz pitched 9 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out 12 batters over his last two outings to earn Appalachian League Pitcher of the Week honors.

"It's all part of organizational development and success," Hurdle said. "There's only two types of currency in today's game to go get players that you don't have and you're not raising: you either buy them, or you trade for them. This was the option that we were able to choose."

Video: Top Prospects: Shane Baz, RHP, Pirates

Baz may one day develop into a top-of-the-rotation starter, as scouts have projected after seeing him throw a fastball that touches 98 mph, a plus cutter and a curveball. But he is years away from the Majors, and while the Pirates aren't all-in on this season, they are confident in their current core. That group now includes Archer, who is under contract next season with club options for 2020 and '21.

Still, it was an unexpectedly aggressive move by Pirates general manager Neal Huntington. Glasnow and Meadows will be under club control for several more years, and both were once ranked among the game's top prospects. Meadows showed flashes of his potential during his first few weeks in the Majors this season, and Glasnow has harnessed his overpowering arsenal during his first three starts with the Rays.

"We believe in this team," Pirates president Frank Coonelly said at the time of the trade. "We believe in the young core that's here, the young core that will be here for several years as we move forward and the wave that's right behind them that we believe in. We wouldn't have paid the steep price that we paid today in terms of Major League players and prospects for a player who was here for two months. But we were able to bring in somebody who we believe can help push us forward this year and then help us in '19, '20 and '21. That was important."

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

Pittsburgh Pirates

4 Pirates among re-ranked Top 100 Prospects

Keller, Hayes, Swaggerty, Baz represent Bucs in midseason update
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Mitch Keller leads a group of four young Pirates players who landed on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects after a midseason re-ranking.

Keller, 22, ranks as the No. 14 overall prospect after beginning the season at No. 16. He began the year with Double-A Altoona, where he posted a 9-2 record with a 2.72 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 14 starts. He was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis in July and has encountered growing pains, allowing 17 earned runs in 17 2/3 innings over his four starts with the club.

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PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Mitch Keller leads a group of four young Pirates players who landed on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects after a midseason re-ranking.

Keller, 22, ranks as the No. 14 overall prospect after beginning the season at No. 16. He began the year with Double-A Altoona, where he posted a 9-2 record with a 2.72 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 14 starts. He was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis in July and has encountered growing pains, allowing 17 earned runs in 17 2/3 innings over his four starts with the club.

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Keller remains the No. 1 prospect in the Pirates' organization.

Third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes began the year outside of MLB Pipeline's Top 100, but he has leaped into the No. 55 spot thanks to his progression with Double-A Altoona this season. He also made a jump among the club's top prospects, sitting at No. 2 after being No. 4 in the preseason.

Video: WLD@USA: Hayes hammers a 2-run homer to left-center

Through 89 games, the 21-year-old has batted .285 with an .813 OPS. He's appeared to take a more patient approach at the plate, as his walk rate is up and his strikeout rate is down compared to years past.

First-round MLB Draft selection Travis Swaggerty, an outfielder out of South Alabama, is ranked No. 87 overall and No. 3 in the Pirates' organization. He's slashed .267/.345/.475 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 26 games with Class A Short Season West Virginia.

Video: Top Prospects: Travis Swaggerty, OF, Pirates

Right-hander Shane Baz rounds out the list of Pirates in the Top 100 at No. 97, 30 spots below where he began the season. The 19-year-old has posted a 5.05 ERA in eight starts for Rookie-Level Bristol and ranks No. 4 in the Pirates' system. Meanwhile, shortstop Oneil Cruz made the biggest jump within the club rankings, bumping up from No. 14 to No. 5 after posting an .845 OPS with Class A Short Season West Virginia.

Video: Top Prospects: Shane Baz, RHP, Pirates

The Pirates recently dealt left-hander Taylor Hearn, who was listed as No. 7 in the Pirates' organization, as well as a pair of former No. 1 club prospects in Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows. Despite the moves, general manager Neal Huntington stated that the organization is confident with the level of depth their farm system provides.

"We've given up players of significance in these trades," Huntington said. "But because of the job our amateur scouting department has done, our player development group has done, our professional scouting department has done through trades, through minor acquisitions, through significant acquisitions, we like the depth of our system."

Injury updates
• Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang was originally scheduled to begin a rehab assignment in Bradenton on Tuesday, but he was shut down due to recurrent left wrist symptoms. The club has yet to set a timetable for when his assignment will begin.

Corey Dickerson is eligible to return from the disabled list on Saturday. He tested out his hamstring on Wednesday, and he will be assessed over the next few days to see if he will be able to stay on schedule for a return in the Cardinals series.

• Right-hander Chad Kuhl (right forearm strain) was moved to the 60-day disabled list, providing a more realistic timetable for his return, not because of any form of setback.

Josh Bell, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list on July 28 with a left oblique strain, remains in the early stages of his recovery. According to director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk, he continues to show "encouraging" signs of improvement every day.

• Right-handers Nick Burdi (recovering from Tommy John surgery) and A.J. Schugel (right shoulder discomfort) continue to take steps on their road to recovery. Burdi is continuing his rehab assignment with Double-A Altoona, while Schugel continues to throw simulated games in Bradenton.

Mason Wittner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Rays land Glasnow, Meadows in Archer deal

MLB.com

The Rays officially traded right-hander Chris Archer to the Pirates before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, acquiring a talent-rich package that includes outfielder Austin Meadows, right-hander Tyler Glasnow and a player to be named.

Archer was one of few frontline starters available on the market at this Trade Deadline, and he shouldn't merely be a rental -- he is controllable through 2021, with team-friendly options of $9 million for 2020 and $11 million for 2021.

The Rays officially traded right-hander Chris Archer to the Pirates before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, acquiring a talent-rich package that includes outfielder Austin Meadows, right-hander Tyler Glasnow and a player to be named.

Archer was one of few frontline starters available on the market at this Trade Deadline, and he shouldn't merely be a rental -- he is controllable through 2021, with team-friendly options of $9 million for 2020 and $11 million for 2021.

Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Chris Archer

Keller makes move up Pirates' pipeline

Top prospect set to make his first Triple-A start
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Mitch Keller, the Pirates' top prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is moving closer to the big leagues.

Keller, 22, will make his next start for Triple-A Indianapolis, the club announced. Keller went 9-2 with a 2.72 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 14 starts for Double-A Altoona this season. Keller is MLB Pipeline's 13th-ranked prospect in all of baseball.

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PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Mitch Keller, the Pirates' top prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is moving closer to the big leagues.

Keller, 22, will make his next start for Triple-A Indianapolis, the club announced. Keller went 9-2 with a 2.72 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 14 starts for Double-A Altoona this season. Keller is MLB Pipeline's 13th-ranked prospect in all of baseball.

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Keller is not on the Pirates' 40-man roster, and while it's possible he could be called up in September, he likely won't make his Major League debut until next season. Keller was not invited to big league camp this spring, but he gave the Pirates a preview of his potential while striking out three over two scoreless innings during a Spring Training game against the Red Sox.

Tweet from @Pirates: Bucco pitching prospect Mitch Keller is scheduled to make his next start for Triple-A Indianapolis.

"I'm not trying to get too far ahead. But it's close," Keller said on March 18. "Just talking with people, I'm right there, so I just got to hone in my craft and just get everything a little bit better than it already is and be more consistent. So that's really what I'm looking for."

Keller, the Pirates' second-round Draft pick in 2014, is viewed as an advanced, polished young pitcher. After making six Double-A starts last season, he held opponents to a .208 average while striking out 76 batters in 86 innings for Altoona this year. He has been particularly effective of late, going 4-0 with a 1.11 ERA over his last five outings -- all quality starts.

If the Pirates were looking for proof that Keller was ready for the next step, he provided it in his last Double-A start. Keller allowed only one hit and two walks while striking out six over eight scoreless innings against Harrisburg. General manager Neal Huntington recently said Keller's changeup has improved. That pitch had been considered the missing link for Keller, who throws a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s, with a swing-and-miss curveball.

"To see him grow and develop the way he has, our staff's done a great job and Mitch deserves a ton of credit, too," Huntington said on Sunday at PNC Park. "We've still got some growth to go, but we believe he can be a really good Major League starting pitcher."

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

Pittsburgh Pirates

Bucs place Feliz on 10-day DL (shoulder)

MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- On Sunday, the Pirates placed reliever Michael Feliz on the 10-day disabled list due to right shoulder inflammation and recalled right-hander Clay Holmes from Triple-A Indianapolis.

The Pirates needed another arm to provide relief depth on Sunday. They were able to make room for Holmes by sidelining Feliz, who pitched four times and threw 97 pitches over the previous eight days.

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PITTSBURGH -- On Sunday, the Pirates placed reliever Michael Feliz on the 10-day disabled list due to right shoulder inflammation and recalled right-hander Clay Holmes from Triple-A Indianapolis.

The Pirates needed another arm to provide relief depth on Sunday. They were able to make room for Holmes by sidelining Feliz, who pitched four times and threw 97 pitches over the previous eight days.

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Feliz gave up a run on two hits and two walks over two innings in Saturday's 7-2 loss to the D-backs at PNC Park. Of greater concern, his average fastball velocity dipped for the third straight game, according to Statcast™, registering at just 92.8 mph after averaging 94.8 mph this season. Richard Rodriguez missed 11 days earlier this month with a similar injury.

"Hopefully, much like Richard, Michael will be able to battle through this and get that inflammation out of there and be ready to go soon after the end of the DL stint," general manager Neal Huntington said. "We'll reevaluate the bullpen at that point in time."

After a strong stretch through April and early May, Feliz began struggling in late May and fell out of his setup role. But Feliz has bounced back a bit, allowing only two earned runs in seven innings over his last five appearances after being scored upon in six straight appearances.

Overall, Feliz has posted a 5.51 ERA with a 1.47 WHIP, 39 strikeouts and 16 walks in 32 2/3 innings over 33 appearances this season.

Holmes, 25, made his Major League debut in relief for the Pirates on April 6. He was scheduled to start on Sunday for Triple-A Indianapolis but wound up pitching two quick, scoreless innings in the Pirates' 3-0 loss to the D-backs.

"I had some crazy travel early on in the year. It kind of comes with it, so you kind of get used to it now," Holmes said. "Once your name's called and you're out on the field, it kind of goes away."

Holmes is 6-3 with a 3.39 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP in 13 Triple-A appearances, including 12 starts. The Pirates' No. 18 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, Holmes has been outstanding of late. Over his last four starts, Holmes is 4-0 with a 0.71 ERA.

"I think the main thing is, I've been pitching to my strengths, kind of throwing my best pitches. I think they were feeding off each other," Holmes said. "Been getting ahead in counts with all my pitches, staying with my strengths, staying within myself. The execution has been there, and the results have been there, too."

Holmes will be used as a long reliever, which may free up manager Clint Hurdle to use right-hander Tyler Glasnow and left-hander Steven Brault in more high-leverage situations. Glasnow and Brault, both starters pitching out of the bullpen, have been two of the Pirates' best relievers lately.

"We see Clayton as a guy very capable of being a power-sinker, Major League starting pitcher," Huntington said. "Sometimes those guys end up being power-sinker, Major League relievers."

Polanco sits
• Right fielder Gregory Polanco was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day on Sunday. While Polanco has slumped since mid-April and entered Sunday batting just .215, he seemed to be turning things around with six hits, including a home run and a double, and six walks over his last 19 plate appearances before Sunday.

Corey Dickerson got the start in left field with Starling Marte in center and Austin Meadows in right. Polanco flied out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning.

"I've only got three spots and four outfielders," Hurdle said. "Trying to play the guys we feel are going to match up best and give us time. … Performance comes into play as well."

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

Pittsburgh Pirates, Michael Feliz

Bucs, 1st-rounder Swaggerty complete deal

'This is my job now. It's an incredible feeling.'
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- Travis Swaggerty didn't start playing baseball until he was 10 years old. He would venture out to the field to watch his father, Travis Sr., during his weekly softball games with friends. That was when Swaggerty developed a love for the game that paired well with his competitive attitude.

"I used to be a pretty aggravating kid," Swaggerty said, "because I always wanted to be first."

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PITTSBURGH -- Travis Swaggerty didn't start playing baseball until he was 10 years old. He would venture out to the field to watch his father, Travis Sr., during his weekly softball games with friends. That was when Swaggerty developed a love for the game that paired well with his competitive attitude.

"I used to be a pretty aggravating kid," Swaggerty said, "because I always wanted to be first."

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• Pirates Draft Tracker

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

That drive helped propel Swaggerty from undrafted high school senior to 10th overall pick in the MLB Draft. The Pirates on Friday completed a deal with Swaggerty, a highly regarded outfielder from the University of South Alabama, signing him and introducing him at PNC Park. Swaggerty signed with the Bucs for a $4.4 million bonus, according to a source, as first reported by MLB.com's Jim Callis.

"I'm just super excited. I'm so blessed. I mean, I'm choking up right now," Swaggerty said during an afternoon news conference. "I don't want to cry, but I'm going to. I'm just so thankful for the Pirates for thinking of me as such a high pick to represent the organization."

Swaggerty agreed to an under-slot bonus, as the 10th overall pick came with an assigned value of $4,560,200. The 20-year-old will report to Class A Short Season West Virginia on Saturday, though he may not join the Black Bears' lineup for a few days as he gets acclimated to pro ball.

If it were up to Swaggerty, he'd be starting in center field on Day 1. After attending the Draft, Swaggerty returned home to work out and hit so he'd be in the best shape possible for his professional debut, he said. Even after meeting the media on Friday, Swaggerty said he was ready to take off his suit, put on a pair of tennis shoes and hit in the PNC Park batting cages.

That fell in line with everything the Pirates learned about Swaggerty's work ethic, as he hit .296/.455/.526 with 13 homers, 38 RBIs and nine steals in 57 games during his junior season. General manager Neal Huntington said each of the Bucs' evaluators would praise a different element of his game -- hitting, baserunning, defense, toughness and his drive to win.

"As you started to hear them each talk, you recognize that we have a chance to have a pretty special young player," Huntington said. "And that's what we believe we've added to this organization."

Video: Huntington, Swaggerty on signing of first rounder

On his way to PNC Park, Swaggerty was stunned to realize he was coming across the Roberto Clemente Bridge -- "the bridge," as he repeatedly called it. He'd seen the bridge on TV and in video games, but the idea that he might soon play in front of that backdrop became real on Friday, his first time visiting Pittsburgh.

"Sitting here in front of y'all with a jersey on, with a hat on, it's like, 'Let's do this thing,'" Swaggerty said. "This is real. This is my job now. It's an incredible feeling."

One reason Swaggerty has made it this far, he said, is his father. The two of them have been on their own the last eight years. His father drove him around, took time off from work and made every possible sacrifice for the sake of Swaggerty's career. So you can only imagine the pride Travis Sr. felt when he heard his son's name called by Commissioner Rob Manfred on June 4.

"I think we're probably as close as any father and son can be. We're not only father and son, we're friends," Travis Sr. said. "This game has drawn us closer as father-son as well. I'm grateful for that part of it, too. That's what this game has done for me."

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

Pittsburgh Pirates

No. 10 pick Swaggerty leads Pirates' Draft class

Pittsburgh taps into high school talent on Day 3
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- Unlike last year's MLB Draft, which saw the Pirates select four of their eight high school draftees on Day 1, the Bucs focused much of their early attention on selecting college players. Through the first two days, nine of their 11 picks were selected out of college. They dipped into the high school talent pool on Day 3 of the Draft, however, drafting eight prep players in their final 30 picks.

Draft Tracker: Every Pirates pick

PITTSBURGH -- Unlike last year's MLB Draft, which saw the Pirates select four of their eight high school draftees on Day 1, the Bucs focused much of their early attention on selecting college players. Through the first two days, nine of their 11 picks were selected out of college. They dipped into the high school talent pool on Day 3 of the Draft, however, drafting eight prep players in their final 30 picks.

Draft Tracker: Every Pirates pick

It appears the gem of the class is No. 10 overall selection Travis Swaggerty, who was the first top 10 pick for the Pirates since Austin Meadows was taken No. 9 overall in 2013.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Swaggerty, an outfielder from the University of South Alabama, entered as MLB Pipeline's No. 11 Draft prospect. After coming into college as a two-way player, he quickly quit pitching to focus solely on hitting. He slashed .296/.455/.526 with 10 doubles, 13 home runs and 39 RBIs during his senior year.

"There's a player, premium position, that has a chance to hit in all three facets of the game," Pirates senior director of amateur scouting Joe DelliCarri said on Monday. "[He] stood out at that part of the board that he was the right fit for us there."

The Pirates also selected a pair of high school right-handers -- Competitive Balance Round A pick Gunnar Hoglund (36th overall) and second-rounder Braxton Ashcraft (51st overall) -- on Day 1. They followed by taking eight consecutive college players on Day 2, and finished the Draft with 31 college players and 10 from high school.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Pirates have agreed to terms with Hoglund, who is currently committed to Mississippi. Meanwhile, Ashcraft told KXXV-TV in Texas that the Pirates hope to fly him up to sign before next week.

When asked whether signability played a factor in selecting a plethora of college players on the first two days of the Draft, general manager Neal Huntington said the Pirates were distributing their money aggressively due to the way the pool system is set up.

"The reality is that there's a finite number [of money] that you can use to sign players," Huntington said on Tuesday. "It wasn't that we walked away from some players because we couldn't afford them. We walked away from players because maybe they didn't fit in our pool, or we chose the players that we liked the best."

Video: Dellicarri, Huntington on Kaiser, Draft strategy

The Pirates ended up with 14 right-handed pitchers, three lefties, four catchers, 10 outfielders and 10 infielders.

Pittsburgh selected another outfield slugger on Day 3 when it took Jonah Davis out of UC Berkeley in the 15th round (444th overall). Davis' junior stats in 2018 jumped off the page, as he batted .321 with two triples, 14 home runs and 58 RBIs over 54 games.

Another intriguing Day 3 pick came in the 19th round, when the Bucs continued a recent trend by selecting right-hander Will Kobos (564th overall). It marked the fourth consecutive year they've drafted a player from George Washington, which is coached by former Pirates hitting coach Gregg Ritchie.

The Pirates also selected a local product in the 28th round, taking University of Delaware infielder Nick Patten. Patten began his high school career at Butler High School, north of Pittsburgh, before transferring to IMG Academy. The University of Delaware also recently produced right-hander Chad Kuhl, who was drafted by the Pirates in 2013 after his junior season with the Blue Hens.

Mason Wittner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Vandy SS, Berkeley RHP lead Bucs' Day 2 picks

MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- After making three selections on Day 1 of the 2018 MLB Draft -- including their first Top-10 pick since Austin Meadows went No. 9 overall in 2013 -- the Pirates continued to bolster their farm system with eight more picks on Tuesday.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Pirates Draft pick

PITTSBURGH -- After making three selections on Day 1 of the 2018 MLB Draft -- including their first Top-10 pick since Austin Meadows went No. 9 overall in 2013 -- the Pirates continued to bolster their farm system with eight more picks on Tuesday.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Pirates Draft pick

The Bucs took University of South Alabama outfielder Travis Swaggerty with their first pick on Monday (10th overall), followed by high school right-handers Gunnar Hoglund (36th overall) and Braxton Ashcraft (51st overall). On Day 2 of the Draft, Rounds 3-10, the Pirates put all of their focus on college prospects, taking college pitchers or position players with all eight picks. They selected four pitchers, an outfielder, a shortstop, a third baseman and a catcher.

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at noon ET.

Round 3: SS Connor Kaiser, Vanderbilt
The Pirates began Day 2 with their second college bat of the Draft. Following a sophomore campaign that saw him post a pedestrian .600 OPS, the junior is slashing .298/.397/.452 over 56 games with the Commodores this season.

"The young man is strong on and off the field; aptitude and attitude," Pirates senior director of amateur scouting Joe DelliCarri said. "I think you're going to continue to see those types of players grow in areas of their game. In this case, with Connor, he's gotten a little stronger."

Kaiser put up great numbers in the Cape Cod Baseball League last summer, batting .300 while collecting nine doubles, one triple and two home runs through 37 regular-season games. Despite not displaying a lot of power at the plate during his time at Vanderbilt, he recently erupted for three home runs and 10 RBIs in a win against Clemson that helped the Commodores clinch a spot in the Super Regionals.

At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Kaiser's size, ability to hit for contact and defensive skill set make him an attractive pick for the Bucs.

Round 4: RHP Aaron Shortridge, University of California, Berkeley
The Pirates took a college arm in the fourth round -- their third right-hander through their first five picks of the Draft. After making 23 of his 26 appearances out of the bullpen through his first two years with the Golden Bears, Shortridge has made the transition to the starting rotation and made 12 starts in his junior season. He posted a 2.77 ERA, striking out 74 while issuing 14 walks through 91 innings.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Over 14 appearances during his sophomore year -- 13 of which came in relief -- Shortridge posted a phenomenal 1.99 ERA as he allowed just five earned runs over 22 2/3 innings. He was the first college pitcher the Pirates selected in this Draft, as they'd taken a pair of high school arms on Day 1.

The 114th pick comes with a slot value of $488,200.

Round 5: C Grant Koch, Arkansas
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, Koch has been the primary starter behind the plate for the Razorbacks over his sophomore and junior campaigns. Additionally, he led the U.S. collegiate national team in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage last summer with a slash line of .372/.500/.535.

Koch, MLBPipeline.com's No. 131 Draft prospect, has followed up a career-high 13 home runs over 63 game during his sophomore year with 7 home runs through 57 games in 2018. Despite the dip in offensive production -- his OPS has dropped from .856 to .763 -- he has seen a slight increase in walks and decrease in strikeouts. He also recorded 433 putouts and posted a .998 fielding percentage with just one error in 465 chances.

"He's going to be solid behind the plate," DelliCarri said. "And we believe that we can catch a little bit more of the offense in him, [an] upside as well."

The 144th pick comes with a slot value of $364,600.

Round 6: RHP Michael Flynn, Arizona
The Pirates went with another college right-hander in the sixth round, selecting this 6-foot-3 junior. Flynn, MLBPipeline.com's No. 188 Draft prospect, served primarily as the No. 2 starter in Arizona's starting rotation in 2018. He made 15 appearances -- 13 of which were starts -- and posted a 4.89 ERA over 73 2/3 innings of work. The 188th pick comes with a slot value of $275,600.

Video: Draft Report: Michael Flynn, College pitcher

Flynn has a fastball that typically sits around 90-94 mph and a curveball he throws in the 79-82 mph range, as well as a cutter and a slider in his repertoire. He was the second pitcher from Arizona's starting rotation to be taken within a 13-pick span, as his roommate -- junior right-hander Cody Deason -- was selected by the Houston Astros in the fifth round.

Round 7: OF Brett Kinneman, North Carolina State
The native Pennsylvanian and West York High School (York, Pa.) graduate started his 2018 campaign red-hot offensively, leading the country in home runs and RBIs on March 21. Despite not managing to keep up his torrid pace, the junior smashed 17 home runs and collected 61 RBIs while posting a .973 OPS -- all three of which were career highs. The 204th pick comes with a slot value of $215,500.

Video: Draft Report: Brett Kinneman, College outfielder

Kinneman was listed as MLBPipeline.com's No. 148 Draft prospect. The left-handed-hitting outfielder earned some high praise from his college coach due to his playing style.

"He's just a throwback to everything the game used to be when we all fell in love with it," NC State head coach Elliott Avent told D1Baseball.com in March. "I grew up loving Mickey Mantle, and I call him Mickey Mantle because he reminds me of Mickey Mantle."

Round 8: LHP Zach Spears, Miami (OH)
The 21-year-old southpaw stands at a towering 6-foot-7 and weighs 237 pounds. Baseball America ranked Spears the No. 11 Draft prospect from Ohio.

He tied a team high with 14 starts for the Redhawks in 2018. In 15 appearances, Spears posted a 3.73 ERA and struck out a team-high 88 batters while walking 39 over 82 innings of work. The 234th pick comes with a slot value of $171,800.

Round 9: RHP Logan Stoelke, Louisiana Lafayette
Stoelke's collegiate career started with very little focus on pitching as he threw 16 1/3 innings over 13 appearances through his first three seasons at Louisiana Lafayette. He made appearances in 42 games his junior year, most commonly as an outfielder.

He broke out in the bullpen during his senior season, however, turning his focus solely on pitching due to the Ragin' Cajuns' pitching staff being inflicted with injuries this spring. He led the team with 10 saves, posting a 2.97 ERA over 21 relief appearances. The 264th pick comes with a slot value of $150,200.

"The ball comes out good, [he] throws strikes," DelliCarri said. "We're really excited to work with him and the upside there. We look at the innings as a positive of what he can do, where he is right now and where we can take him."

Round 10: 3B Mike Gretler, Oregon State
The Pirates wrapped up the day with another college bat. It's the second straight year the Bucs have drafted Gretler, as they selected him in the 39th round in 2017. The senior has slashed .314/.389/.498 with seven home runs in 58 games for the Beavers in 2018. The 294th pick comes with a slot value of $140,800.

"He's the glue to our team, the ultimate team guy," Oregon State associate head coach Pat Bailey told the Portland Tribune last week.

Mason Wittner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Pirates take OF Swaggerty with No. 10 pick

Pittsburgh finish Day 1 with prep right-handers Hoglund, Ashcraft
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- Travis Swaggerty wasn't necessarily nervous on Monday night in MLB Network's Studio 42. He was invited to attend the Draft in person, so he knew he'd get picked at some point -- but he didn't want to know when. Swaggerty told his advisor to handle it and enjoyed Draft night with his family.

"I just wanted to let the whole night play out and wanted it to be a surprise for me," Swaggerty said.

PITTSBURGH -- Travis Swaggerty wasn't necessarily nervous on Monday night in MLB Network's Studio 42. He was invited to attend the Draft in person, so he knew he'd get picked at some point -- but he didn't want to know when. Swaggerty told his advisor to handle it and enjoyed Draft night with his family.

"I just wanted to let the whole night play out and wanted it to be a surprise for me," Swaggerty said.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Pirates Draft pick

So it was a surprise when Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the Pirates made Swaggerty, an athletic outfielder from South Alabama, the 10th overall pick. Swaggerty, MLB Pipeline's No. 11 Draft prospect, became Pittsburgh's first top-10 MLB Draft pick in five years since Austin Meadows went No. 9 overall.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

The Bucs began Competitive Balance Round A with their second Day 1 selection, taking Florida high school right-hander Gunnar Hoglund with the 36th overall pick. Hoglund, MLB Pipeline's No. 66 Draft prospect, went 7-0 with a 0.27 ERA, 105 strikeouts and two walks (both in his last game of the season) as a senior for Fivay High School. Hoglund is committed to play at Mississippi.

The 6-foot-4, 210-pounder's advanced control and command of his fastball captured the Pirates' attention. Every time their scouts visited Hoglund, they would ask: Have you walked anybody yet?

"It clearly stands out," Pirates senior director of amateur scouting Joe DelliCarri said. "It became something within the group. We just never saw him walk anybody."

With their third and final Day 1 pick, the Pirates selected right-hander Braxton Ashcraft from Robinson High School (Texas) in the second round. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound 18-year-old, MLB Pipeline's No. 64 Draft prospect, throws a sinking fastball that topped out at 94 mph in the postseason, a slider that sits in the upper 70s and athleticism that helped him set what's believed to be a national high school record with 37 touchdown receptions as a junior.

Ashcraft, a Baylor commit, gave up football as a senior to focus on baseball and emerged as one of the most athletic arms available in the Draft. DelliCarri said the Pirates saw Ashcraft's delivery and arm speed improve as the spring went on.

"The progression through the spring, coming out of football … he took off," DelliCarri said. "You see the athleticism keep coming out in the delivery, how he gets to it. You see the arm speed start to play really well."

Video: Draft 2018: Pirates draft RHP Braxton Ashcraft No. 51

Swaggerty knew the Pirates had some interest in him, but he wasn't all that familiar with their organization. A vision of PNC Park quickly came to mind, though.

"All I could think about was that beautiful ballpark and being able to run around center field there in the future," Swaggerty said. "I can't wait."

Tweet from @TSwaggerty_21: Best moment of my life!! Ready to put it on for the city of Pittsburgh! LET���S GO BUCCOS🖤💛

Swaggerty, 20, went undrafted out of high school. On a conference call with reporters, he recalled a game in high school when he hit a double and stood on second base. The opposing shortstop asked him where he was going to play in college, and Swaggerty answered South Alabama. The shortstop responded in shock: Really?

"I promise you, it doesn't matter where you go to school. It matters what you do when you're there," Swaggerty said. "Just having that mindset and putting that chip on my shoulder when I play every day has been huge."

DelliCarri said Swaggerty is "strong in all facets" of the game, and the Pirates were intrigued by that driven, chip-on-his-shoulder attitude.

"There's probably not enough words to describe that baseball is first. How he approaches it, his drive and motivation to be really good at baseball," DelliCarri said. "That is a component of what drew him to us."

Swaggerty entered college as a two-way player but quickly ditched pitching to protect his left arm and focused on hitting. He hit .303 with 20 steals as a freshman. Swaggerty said he put on about 17 pounds between his freshman and sophomore seasons, and that unlocked his power, as his slugging percentage increased from .422 to .571.

Video: Draft 2018: Swaggerty on being 10th overall pick

He played in 19 games last summer for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and ranked second in hits (21) and on-base percentage (.449) and third in steals (six) and batting average (.328). His time with Team USA also helped him handle the expectations that come along with playing in front of scouts.

Swaggerty could project to be a 20-homer, 20-steal threat with his power and athleticism. He should stick in center field, but his strong arm would allow him to move to right field as well

"Travis Swaggerty is one of the best hitters in the draft and we are pleased to add such a multi-dimensional player to our organization," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement. "Travis is a gritty, driven, well-rounded athlete who can impact a game with his bat, his speed and his glove."

The Draft continues today with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

The Pirates are one of seven clubs with an eight-figure bonus pool this year, as they have $10,390,400 to spend in the Draft. Their first pick comes with an assigned slot value of $4,560,200, while the 36th pick is valued at $1,967,900 and their second-round selection (51st) at $1,382,400.

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

Pittsburgh Pirates

Bucs set for Draft; first pick at No. 10 overall

Club's last top-10 selection was Meadows in '13
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- The last time the Pirates had a top-10 pick in the MLB Draft, they selected an 18-year-old outfielder from a high school in Loganville, Ga. That was Austin Meadows, the ninth overall selection in 2013 who broke into the Majors earlier this month.

The Bucs' disappointing, 75-87 season in 2017 left them out of the postseason for the second straight year. The silver lining is a top-10 pick in the Draft that they hope will lead them to another talented young players like Meadows.

PITTSBURGH -- The last time the Pirates had a top-10 pick in the MLB Draft, they selected an 18-year-old outfielder from a high school in Loganville, Ga. That was Austin Meadows, the ninth overall selection in 2013 who broke into the Majors earlier this month.

The Bucs' disappointing, 75-87 season in 2017 left them out of the postseason for the second straight year. The silver lining is a top-10 pick in the Draft that they hope will lead them to another talented young players like Meadows.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

The 2018 Draft will take place today through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com today at 6 p.m. ET. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at noon ET.

Go to MLB.com/Draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, projected top picks from MLB Pipeline analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.

Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Pirates, whose first selection is the 10th overall pick.

In about 50 words
The Pirates would love to land another five-tool talent like Meadows or another intriguing arm like Shane Baz, their first-round pick last year. Their 10-year history of top-10 picks includes Meadows, Mark Appel (unsigned), Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Tony Sanchez and Pedro Alvarez -- a handful of hits and misses. They're aiming for another hit this time around.

Video: Mayo breaks down Top 200 Draft prospects

The scoop
MLB Pipeline's top three Draft prospects are college players: right-handers Casey Mize (Auburn) and Brady Singer (Florida) and infielder Nick Madrigal (Oregon State). Mize is widely expected to go first overall to the Tigers. Beyond that, the top 10 is anyone's guess.

"There isn't a ton of clarity in front of us," general manager Neal Huntington said. "One seems to be pretty set at this point in time, but two through nine seem to be variable at this point … maybe more so than prior years."

There will be a lot of high school talent available when the Pirates pick, so they can continue their search for high-upside players. However, Huntington and director of amateur scouting Joe DelliCarri always keep their options open to take the best player available when they're on the clock.

"Complete confidence in Joe DelliCarri, and our group [of scouts] down there has done everything that they can do," Huntington said. "We joked with Joe that he was ready to draft on Jan. 4. We could've put a board together and felt really good about it."

First-round buzz
MLB Pipeline's experts have linked the Pirates to a handful of high school players. MLB.com's Jim Callis has connected Pittsburgh to prep right-handers Grayson Rodriguez, Carter Stewart and Cole Winn as well as lefty Ryan Weathers. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo also mentioned Winn as a possibility for Pittsburgh in a recent mock draft.

Video: Draft Report: Jarred Kelenic, High School outfielder

If they decide to pick a position player, Callis noted that the Pirates' preference for athletic outfielders could lead them to Jarred Kelenic (a high schooler from Wisconsin) or Travis Swaggerty (South Alabama). High school third baseman Nolan Gorman, a lefty-hitting slugger with plenty of raw power, may also be of interest.

Money matters
Each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values assigned to its selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. Any bonus money above $125,000 given to a player picked in rounds 11-40 also counts against a team's allotment. If a player selected in the first 10 rounds doesn't sign, his pick's value is subtracted from the team's pool. If the club exceeds its allotment, it will face a penalty.

A team that outspends its pool by 0-5 percent will pay a 75 percent tax on the overage. Beyond that, clubs can lose future picks and pay additional taxes. In six years under these rules, teams have outspent their allotments 95 times but never by more than 5 percent.

The Pirates are one of seven clubs with an eight-figure bonus pool this year, as they have $10,390,400 to spend. Their first pick (10th overall) is valued at $4,560,200, their Competitive Balance Round A pick (36th) at $1,967,900 and their second-round selection (51st) at $1,382,400. Last year, the Pirates signed first-round pick Baz for a $4.1 million bonus, more than the $4,032,000 value assigned to the 12th overall selection.

Shopping list
Teams rarely, if ever, take players based upon a "need" in the Draft. But the Pirates certainly have traits that they look for in players. They have a history of selecting patient/high-contact hitters, athletic defenders and projectable pitchers who have strikeout stuff and high ground-ball rates. But they've also shown a willingness to draft raw talent out of the high school ranks, as they did early on in last year's Draft. The Pirates have a young Major League team and a deep, well-rounded farm system, so they're best served sticking to their "best player available" philosophy.

Video: Top Prospects: Shane Baz, RHP, Pirates

Trend watch
The Pirates used their top pick on a position player each year from 2013-17, and they gravitated toward hitters with their top-five-round picks during that stretch. They bucked that trend a bit last year by taking Baz in the first round. With four picks on Day 1 of the Draft last year, the Bucs went heavy on high-ceiling high school talent by selecting Baz, right-hander Steven Jennings and outfielders Calvin Mitchell and Conner Uselton.

Rising fast
Kevin Newman and Kevin Kramer, two of the Pirates' first three picks in the 2015 Draft, began the season with Triple-A Indianapolis. Newman could make his Major League debut later this year, and the Bucs began moving the former first-rounder between shortstop and second base to increase his defensive versatility if he breaks in as a bench player. Kramer, who's worked around the infield this season, may not be far behind after a breakout 2017 season at the plate with Double-A Altoona.

Video: Top Prospects: Kevin Newman, SS, Pirates

Cinderella story
Max Moroff was a 16th-round pick out of high school in the 2012 Draft, but his patient approach and versatile glove have made him one of the Pirates' top infield depth options. Most of their current players and top prospects were either high-round Draft picks, trade acquisitions or international signings. Keep an eye on Class A West Virginia first baseman Mason Martin, though. Pittsburgh's No. 25 prospect is off to a slow start this season, but he slugged 11 homers over 39 games in his professional debut with the Gulf Coast League Pirates last year.

In the show
Twelve players on the Pirates' 40-man roster were acquired in the Draft: Josh Bell (2011, second round), Adam Frazier (2013, sixth round), Tyler Glasnow (2011, fifth round), Clay Holmes (2011, ninth round), Nick Kingham (2010, fourth round), Chad Kuhl (2013, ninth round), Jordan Luplow (2014, third round), Meadows (2013, first round), Jordy Mercer (2008, third round), Moroff (2012, 16th round), Jacob Stallings (2012, seventh round) and Taillon (2010, first round). All 12 of them have played for the Bucs over the last two years, with Luplow and Stallings the only two who haven't spent time in the big leagues this season.

The Pirates' recent top picks
2017: Shane Baz, RHP (Rookie-level GCL Pirates)
2016: Will Craig, 1B (Double-A Altoona)
2015: Kevin Newman, INF (Triple-A Indianapolis)
2014: Cole Tucker, SS (Double-A Altoona)
2013: Austin Meadows, OF (Pittsburgh Pirates)

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

Pittsburgh Pirates

Nova goes on DL, Kingham recalled for start

Pirates right-hander sidelined by sprained ring finger
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates placed right-handed pitcher Ivan Nova on the 10-day disabled list on Monday, retroactive to Friday, with a sprained right ring finger.

To take Nova's place on the active roster, the Pirates recalled right-hander Nick Kingham from Triple-A Indianapolis. Kingham is scheduled to start on Tuesday against the Cubs.

View Full Game Coverage

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates placed right-handed pitcher Ivan Nova on the 10-day disabled list on Monday, retroactive to Friday, with a sprained right ring finger.

To take Nova's place on the active roster, the Pirates recalled right-hander Nick Kingham from Triple-A Indianapolis. Kingham is scheduled to start on Tuesday against the Cubs.

View Full Game Coverage

Nova, 31, was diagnosed with the sprain after reporting discomfort following Thursday's 5-4 loss to the Reds. He said the injury first occurred while fielding a ground ball late in his start against the Tigers at PNC Park on April 25.

He hasn't thrown since Thursday, but could resume flat-ground work in the coming days. Pirates director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said he believes 10 days will be enough time for Nova's injury to heal.

"It's a minor irritation to his ring finger, the ligament," Tomczyk said. "To put him in the best position, short term and long term, as a group we felt it was best for him to take the 10 days."

Both Nova and Tomczyk have made it clear that Nova is not using the finger injury as an excuse for his struggles in May. He's allowed 25 runs, 20 earned, over five starts this month for a May ERA of 7.61.

"Ivan wasn't really Ivan," Tomczyk said. "There is a medical condition in that ring finger that has been causing impairment. So he was spraying more than he's used to. His velocity was the same. But there's something there that he needs to take a little time off and build himself back up."

Video: Kingham on starting Tuesday

Kingham, Pittsburgh's No. 12 prospect as ranked by MLB Pipeline, was pulled after pitching one inning in his Triple-A start on Friday so he would be available to start in Nova's place if needed.

"Nick is ready to pitch," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He was explained the situation, the possibility of why he came out after the one inning and what very well could happen here. He was one of the options."

The 26-year-old arrived in Pittsburgh on Sunday night and is eager for the opportunity to contribute to the club.

"I'm glad I can come here and help the guys," Kingham said. "Anything can happen. You can't look too forward in the future, just take it as it goes, take it one step at a time, one day at a time."

Video: STL@PIT: Kingham throws 6 2/3 perfect frames in debut

Kingham has made three starts in the Majors this season. He took a perfect game into the seventh inning in his big league debut on April 29 against the Cardinals, beat the Brewers on May 4 and surrendered three runs over six innings in a losing effort to the Padres on May 19.

In six starts for Indianapolis, he's registered 30 strikeouts while surrendering eight runs, seven earned, over 29 2/3 innings.

"I'm here to do what I can with the opportunities that I can," Kingham said. "We'll see what happens."

Mason Wittner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Nick Kingham, Ivan Nova