First Pitch: One More Day Until the 2020 Season Opener

Today’s the last off-day before the 2020 regular season finally starts. The Pittsburgh Pirates will be on their way to St Louis for three games with the Cardinals. Manager Derek Shelton has already announced that the starters for the three-game series will be Joe Musgrove in the opener, followed by Trevor Williams and Mitch Keller. Shelton also had some announcements after Wednesday’s loss to the Cleveland Indians.

As expected, Derek Holland made the Pirates rotation. I don’t think that has been in doubt since they returned to action earlier this month. Holland started last night, so he will probably follow Keller in the rotation. Keller pitched during Tuesday’s scrimmage at PNC Park. Holland ran into some trouble during his outing last night, but he told the local media that he felt good during the game. His final line was three runs (two earned) on five hits, one walk and two strikeouts in three innings. He needed 61 pitches (37 strikes) to get through his night.

The Pirates and Keone Kela finally broke the silence on his absence and the reason is what almost everyone was guessing. Kela tested positive for COVID-19. He doesn’t have a return date yet, but it’s going to take some time for him to get back in game condition, so you would assume that he will be headed to Altoona first. During this short season, any missed time is significant.

**We will have at least five (probably six) articles today, including the one you’re currently reading. If any news comes up we will have more. The other scheduled articles for today are as follows:

This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History – Some major trades of note, plus the birthday of Ginger Beaumont, an early star for the Pirates.

Obscure Pittsburgh Pirates – A bit of a tribute to catcher Ed Fitz Gerald, who recently passed away.

1979 Season Recap – Pirates take on the Atlanta Braves in a second straight doubleheader.

Season Preview – Wilbur takes a look at the Pirates pitching staff. Here’s his preview on the hitters from Tuesday night.

*The sixth article would be the rosters being set. That has to be done at noon, so expect an article some time after that point, unless it’s announced earlier. The Pirates only have 30 healthy players at the PNC Park camp (31 if JT Riddle can play), so we may already know the entire roster.

Hope everyone has a great Thursday. Opening Day is tomorrow!




John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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