MIAMI – John Bormann woke up this morning ready to make a commuter trip to Port Charlotte. He boarded the 9:00 bus from Bradenton down for the final game of the series against the Stone Crabs for a game he was slated to start.
At the stadium, he was getting dressed for the game, and getting ready to go over the pitcher-catcher meeting with Marauders manager Gera Alvarez. At that point, Pirates’ Assistant General Manager Kyle Stark called him into the office and told him that he was needed in Miami.
“I figured maybe he misspoke,” Bormann said. “Maybe I’m going up to Altoona, and it’s just a trickle-up effect.”
There was no mistake, and this was no joke.
“No, I’m serious, you’re going to Miami,” Stark responded. “You’re our number two guy. If Stew gets banged up, you’re in there.”
Bormann went back to the clubhouse and started packing up his stuff frantically. At that point, Alvarez came in to the locker room to make an announcement: Bormann was headed to the show.
“The locker room erupted for me,” Bormann said. “It’s an awesome experience.”
From that point forward it was a whirlwind. He got in a car with Bradenton coach Adam Godwin and the two floored it down to Miami. The entire trip he was calling family and friends, letting them know the news.
“The best part of it, the whole ride over here was just hearing their reactions to my news,” Bormann said. “Just living my dream out, but also for them. Hearing the excitement in their voices. They were as dumbfounded as I was.”
The drive was three hours, but Godwin got them there in two hours and 15 minutes. He got to the stadium and got out to the field as quick as he could, arriving in the third inning. He quickly found that this was different than the crowds he was used to in the Florida State League.
“I’m walking down the tunnel and I can just hear the crowd erupt on a base knock,” Bormann said. “It was quite an experience.”
Bormann said he didn’t remember the fourth inning, but then settled down to get composure in case he was needed. He wasn’t needed, but with the Pirates down 10-3 in the top of the ninth, Hurdle called on him to pinch hit and make his MLB debut. He ended up striking out in a 2-2 count, but not before fouling two balls off.
“It was awesome,” Bormann said. “I had a feeling, stay ready just in case. I felt composed, for the most part. I felt like I had a plan, towards the end of the AB I felt a little antsy, but I got a good pitch to hit, just missed it. Hopefully, if I get another chance in the big leagues, I won’t be as antsy next time and I’ll be ready to go.”
“Imagine when he woke up today what his thinking was,” Hurdle said after the game. “He’s going to Port Charlotte on a bus, maybe play, maybe not. And ends up playing in a Major League game. He’s going to get a lot of love when he gets back there tonight.”
The moment was a special one. Very few players make the majors, and Bormann wasn’t expected to arrive for a few years, if he ever does at all. That’s not a move that is guaranteed for any prospect, whether it’s a first rounder or a 24th rounder like Bormann. To have this opportunity, maybe the only opportunity he will get, was huge.
“It’s something I’ve worked for for a long time,” Bormann said. “They always say ‘Stay ready, anything can happen.’ For one, I never thought I would be the ‘anything can happen.’ And then two, to happen in that way, and for us to have to bust it over here, it was once in a lifetime for sure. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Francisco Cervelli Injury
Bormann was called up because Francisco Cervelli was hurt. Hurdle said that when Cervelli got to the park it was determined he couldn’t play today. He was expected to get the day off, but the Pirates needed an extra catcher if Stewart went down.
Cervelli said after the game that he doesn’t expect to go on the disabled list, and only expects to miss a few days at most.
“Yesterday. I felt discomfort in one swing,” Cervelli said. “It’s like my little brother. It’s always with me. It’s going to go away soon.”
The discomfort happened on a swing and a miss. He said that some days are painful, leading to him not running 100%. Today was one of the bad days, leading to Bormann arriving. The Pirates will look for an upper level catcher tomorrow. Hurdle didn’t say who, but said Elias Diaz would be an option when asked specifically about him.
Chad Kuhl Plans to Be Back in Five Days
Chad Kuhl left in the fifth inning after taking a comebacker off his knee, leading to a right knee contusion. Kuhl immediately went down, and eventually got back up and walked around before throwing a few pitches. After his second pitch, Hurdle called him off the mound, despite Kuhl looking like he wanted to stay.
Kuhl iced the knee down and had some compression on it after the game. He said that it was fine, and doesn’t anticipate it will cause him to miss his next start.
“My plan is to be out there in five days,” Kuhl said.
Kuhl gave up two earned runs in four-plus innings of work. Trevor Williams came on in relief and gave up a run, along with an inherited run while getting only two outs. Juan Nicasio closed out the frame. Daniel Hudson let the game get away in the seventh inning, giving up five runs and only recording one out.