Multiple Pirate starters in the lineup for Grapefruit League home opener

Sep 30, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz (15) at the
Sep 30, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz (15) at the / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Plenty of projected starters and regulars will be in the lineup for the Pittsburgh Pirates in Sunday's Grapefruit League home opener

Saturday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates kicked off Grapefruit League action in Fort Myers against the Minnesota Twins. In the game, the Pirates fell to the Twins 5-3. You can read more about the game here, including strong days at the plate for Henry Davis and Edward Olivares.

Sunday afternoon, the Pirates will return to LECOM Park in Bradenton for their 2024 Grapefruit League home opener. When the Bucs take the field on Sunday, there will be plenty of projected starters and regulars in their lineup.

Highlighting this group will be Oneil Cruz. The Pirate shortstop will bat leadoff in his first game facing any sort of MLB pitching since he broken his ankle on Easter Sunday last year, ending his season after just nine games.

Cruz is fully healthy and ready to make a major impact for the Pirates this season. Cruz reaching his sky high ceiling, or anything close to it, would go a long way toward helping the Pirates surprise people and contend this season.

Other projected starters joining Cruz in the lineup are left fielder Bryan Reynolds, third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes, and center fielder Jack Suwinski. Odds are, you will see a lot of Cruz and Reynolds in the top two spots in the Pirate lineup this season.

Yasmani Grandal will start behind the plate and should open the season as the backup to Henry Davis. Liover Peguero appears to be the frontrunner for the second base job, with Sunday's designated hitter Nick Gonzales presenting his primary competition. Rowdy Tellez will start at first base with Connor Joe in left field, when the regular season begins those two are set to platoon at first base.

Fresh on the heels of a new 5-year, $77 million contract extension, Mitch Keller will make his first start of the spring on Sunday afternoon. He will look to start his Grapefruit League season on a strong note while hoping to pitch more effectively than Bailey Falter who was unimpressive on Saturday afternoon.

First pitch from LECOM Park is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET. You can listen to the game locally on 93.7 The Fan, and it will be televised on SportsNet Pittsburgh, the first televised game of the Grapefruit League season for the Bucs.

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