Derek Holland With Another Chance to Impress the Pittsburgh Pirates Brass

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A left-handed pitcher competing for a spot in the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation will have another opportunity to work toward claiming that spot on Saturday evening

At 6:05 PM EST on Saturday evening, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Minnesota Twins will do battle. This Grapefruit League game will be played at CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers. In this game, the Pirates (0-7-1) will be searching for their first win of the Grapefruit League season.

When the Pirates battle the Twins on Saturday night, veteran left-handed pitcher Derek Holland will be on the mound for the Bucs. This will be Holland’s second start of the spring, as he attempts to claim the fifth and final spot in the Pirate starting rotation.

In Holland’s first start of the spring he pitched 1.2 innings against the Detroit Tigers. In these 1.2 innings of work he did not walk a batter, allowed four hits, a pair of runs, and all five outs he recorded was via the strikeout. Outside of a lead-off home run by former Pirate farmhand Jacoby Jones, Holland did not miss his spots or allow any hard contact in the start.

Holland entered the spring competing with Steven Brault and Chad Kuhl for the final spot in the Pirate starting rotation. Thus far, Holland has been the most impressive this spring.

Brault made his second 2020 Grapefruit League appearance in Friday afternoon’s loss against the Baltimore Orioles, and it did not go well. In the outing Brault allowed 2 runs on four hits, no walks and three strikeouts in 1.1 innings of work. In 2.1 innings of work this spring, Brault has allowed these 2 runs on four hits, no walks, no home runs allowed, and three strikeouts.

As for Kuhl, after missing all of 2019 due to Tommy John Surgery he pitched in a simulated game last Sunday. Kuhl then made his Grapefruit League debut on Friday against the O’s. Kuhl faced four batters. He retired two of these batters, one via the strikeout, and allowed a pair of runs on a hit and a walk. The Pirates will undoubtedly be cautious with Kuhl this spring, which could also be a factor.

With a good outing on Saturday, Holland can solidify his lead in the race for the final spot in the Pirate starting rotation.

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In addition to Holland, six other Pirate pitchers are scheduled to pitch on Saturday night. Bullpen candidates Clay Holmes, Dovydas Neverauskas, Richard Rodriguez, and Robbie Erlin are all scheduled to pitch. As are lefties Williams Jerez and Miguel del Pozo.

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