Pittsburgh Pirates Minors: Mitch Keller Exits Early Again

Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Pirates top pitching prospect, Mitch Keller, left his start last night early.  The reason was due to an injury.  Here is an update on the minor league pitcher.

The Pittsburgh Pirates may have been holding their breath last night.  During Mitch Keller’s start at High-A Bradenton, he had to exit his start early due to an injury.  This is the second time in his last two starts that he has had trouble staying on the mound due to health.  Last week, Keller left his start in the fifth inning.  He was pitching relatively well when the trainer came out to see him.  The trainer was focusing on his throwing forearm.  Obviously, the thought was that he had an elbow issue.  However, after the game, High-A Bradenton’s manager Gerardo Alvarez announced that Keller was stung by a bee and left due to swelling in his forearm.  So obviously it was good news.

Fast forward to last night, and the trainer was coming out to the mound again.  Keller was in the first inning of his start when the trainer came out for a visit again.  Keller eventually completed the inning but did not come back out.  Once again there was fear that there could be a serious injury.  With young pitching prospect anytime there is an injury that makes a starter leave a game the first thought is Tommy-John Surgery.  The Pittsburgh Pirates have seen this happen to multiple of their top pitching prospects in the past.  Prospects like Jameson Taillon, Nick Kingham, and Clay Holmes have all received it over the last few seasons, stunting their estimated time of arrival to the bigs.

Fortunately for the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and fan base, the Keller injury is not overly serious.  Keller is experiencing lower back stiffness.  This makes sense as he struggled yesterday, throwing 27 pitches in the first inning alone.  In addition to the 27 pitches, he gave up two earned runs on a two-run shot.  He also walked two batters and gave up another hit.  Keller has been absolutely dominant his last few appearances so it makes sense that he was having an issue.

Next: Glasnow and the Tradeoff Of Throwing Strikes

Following Keller’s Injury

Bradenton ended up losing the game to Dayton, who is the Reds High-A affiliate.  Bret Helton relieved Keller and threw the next four innings and only gave up one run.  However, Jake Brentz got knocked around for the first time all year, giving up three earned run and promptly costing the Marauders a chance to win.  The Marauders scored three runs in total.  Hopefully, this is the last scare from Mitch Keller this season.  Two games in a row he has been pulled early, and quite frankly the Pittsburgh Pirates and their fan base probably cannot handle any more bad news in this young season.