BRADENTON, Fla. – Nick Kingham took the mound yesterday at Pirate City for his first five inning rehab start. Kingham went down with an ankle injury during Spring Training, forcing him to miss two weeks early in his build up process. As a result, he had to start over and build up completely over the last month, making this essentially his Spring Training.
The outing yesterday was a good one. Kingham gave up a run on three hits in his five innings, with one walk and five strikeouts. He threw 74 pitches, with 50 for strikes, and was ranging 89-94 MPH with his fastball.
“Everything feels good,” Kingham said. “The ankle has been feeling good since I started throwing off the mound again. It just takes a long time to get built up.”
The control is a good thing to see. The one walk issued by Kingham was his first walk during his build-up. He had good control before his Tommy John surgery, but that faded before he went down. He struggled with his command at times last year, which is common for guys coming off Tommy John. The hope is that this is a step back to him being the pitcher he was prior to the surgery.
Kingham said he’s not sure of the next step in his progression. He knows that he needs to make two different five inning starts in Florida, and that Bradenton is an option before he returns to Indianapolis. But he’s not sure if the next five inning start will take place at Pirate City or in Bradenton. Regardless of where it takes place, Kingham is close to returning to Indianapolis.
UPDATE: Kingham has joined the Bradenton Marauders for workouts, and will be making his next start with the team. The date of the start is unknown at the moment.
Sadler and Cumpton Updates
Casey Sadler and Brandon Cumpton both pitched in the last few days. Cumpton threw off the mound against another team for the first time since 2014, throwing an inning of relief on Friday. I’ll have more on Cumpton in the next few days.
Sadler threw twice in extended Spring Training, but had to take some time off due to elbow soreness.
“Just a little tenderness in the elbow,” Sadler said. “A little flare up. Some inflammation. It was starting to affect everything, so we felt it was best to just shut it down a little bit.”
Sadler said that he feels great now, and that the ball feels like it’s coming out good. He’s not sure of the timeline for his build-up, but knows that he will be pitching as a reliever when he returns to Indianapolis. Cumpton is in the same situation.
Other Injury Updates
**Adrian Valerio is set to join West Virginia at some point in the middle of this month.
**Barrett Barnes is set to return in the middle of the month. He played five innings in yesterday’s game.
**Jin-De Jhang is also on pace to return in the middle of the month from his oblique injury.
**Michael Suchy was placed on the Altoona disabled list today with a broken hamate bone. Jerrick Suiter was promoted from Bradenton to take his place. The normal recovery for a hamate bone surgery is 6-9 weeks, although it can sap power for up to a year.
Starling Marte Playing in Extended Spring Training
Starling Marte played five innings yesterday in an extended Spring Training game. I haven’t had a chance to catch up with him yet, but he’ll be playing in those games going forward until his suspension is up. Pirates’ General Manager Neal Huntington discussed the feedback they’ve gotten from Marte being down at Pirate City.
“It’s been positive,” Huntington said. “He’s showing up. He’s getting his work in. He’s going at it with intent. He’s setting an example as we made him very aware that there will be a lot of eyes on him as he’s down there and he needs to represent really well. So far, he’s done that.”