Pittsburgh Pirates set to host New York Yankees in Grapefruit League home opener

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates are preparing for their Grapefruit League home opener on Saturday afternoon

One day after being defeated by the Tampa Bay Rays 6-3 in their Grapefruit League opener, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now set for their first home game of the spring. At 1:05 this afternoon, the Bucs will welcome the New York Yankees to LECOM Park for the team’s first home game of the spring.

Right-handed pitching prospect Nick Kingham is slated to start for the Pirates this afternoon. Fellow Triple-A starter Clay Holmes will follow Kingham, as will new Pirate relievers Michael Feliz and Kyle Crick. Rule 5 Draft selection Jordan Milbrath, left-handed reliever Jack Leathersich, and non-roster invitee Richard Rodriguez are all scheduled to pitch as well.

Nick Kingham is coming off a strong season at Triple-A Indianapolis that saw him make a professional career best 19 starts. In total, Kingham appeared in 20 games and pitched a career best 113 1/3 innings.

For the Indians in 2017 Kingham averaged 2.30 BB/9, 7.39 K/9, and he allowed just eight home runs. He generated groundballs at a 45.1 percent rate and owned a 4.13 ERA and a 3.59 FIP.

This was a big season for Kingham who missed almost all of 2015 and 2016 due to Tommy John Surgery. If not for this surgery, Kingham would have made his Major League debut in 2016 and came very close to earning a September callup last season.

Due to being granted an extra minor league option, Kingham will begin the 2018 season back in the rotation at Triple-A. However, he should make his Major League debut at some point during the 2018 season. The first step toward that for Kingham comes with his Grapefruit League debut this afternoon.

As for the Bronx Bombers, young righty Domingo German will make the start. German reached the Major Leagues for the first time in 2017 pitching 14 1/3 innings in seven relief appearances. While he struck out 18 batters he also walked six.

Next: Austin Meadows shines in Grapefruit opener

Fans wishing to listen to the game can do so on MLB.com, as well as on the airwaves of KDKA 1020 AM in Pittsburgh.