Pirates News - Spring Training Notebook: Skenes to start 2024 in minors, Cruz hits first homer of spring & more

Paul Skenes will start the 2024 season in the minor leagues, Oneil Cruz hit a 411 nuke against the Blue Jays and more.

Atlanta Braves v Pittsburgh Pirates
Atlanta Braves v Pittsburgh Pirates / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

Paul Skenes will start the 2024 season in the minor leagues, Oneil Cruz hit a 411 foot nuke against the Blue Jays, and more

After a brief hiatus, our daily spring training notebooks return here on Rum Bunter. Let's dive right into the news and notes from Tuesday. Including the Pirates making their first cuts of the spring, with those cuts including three intriguing pitching prospects.

The biggest news from Tuesday is that general manager Ben Cherrington announced that top prospect Paul Skenes would begin the season in the minor leagues. However, the Pirates plan on keeping the 2023 No. 1 overall pick in major league camp for now as well. Jason Mackey of Post-Gazette Sports was the first to report the news on Twitter.

This spring in a pair of games, Skenes has pitched three innings allowing one earned run on a solo home run while striking out three.

Staying on the pitching side of things, fellow top pitching prospect Jared Jones continues to be very impressive this spring. On Tuesday against the Blue Jays, Jones pitched two scoreless innings while walking one and striking out one. Jones was consistently hitting the high 90s and had three pitches over 100 mph including one fastball reaching as high as 101.6.

Also notably from the Pirates 6-5 win over the Blue Jays, shortstop Oneil Cruz hit a 411 foot home run in the fifth inning to right center field. The home run had an exit velocity of Cruz's bat of 115 mph.

Also hitting home runs in Tuesday's win over Toronto were Liover Peguero and Tsung-Che Cheng. As a team, the Pirates scored their six runs across nine hits and four walks.

On the negative side of things from the win, both Bailey Falter and Brent Honeywell continue to have struggles on the mound. Falter allowed two earned runs in his two innings of work on three hits and one walk. Honeywell went two-thirds of an innings, allowing two earned runs in his time on the mound.

The Pirates will be back in action on Wednesday evening against the Baltimore Orioles. Mitch Keller will make his third start of the spring and will oppose seasoned veteran Julio Teheran.

Keller allowed three earned runs in his last time out on March 1 against the Tampa Bay Rays. In his spring debut against Baltimore, he pitched a scoreless two innings while walking two and punching out a pair of Orioles as well.


The Boston Red Sox learned on Tuesday that starter Lucas Giolito, the organization's top offseason move could miss the entire 2024 season due to a partially torn UCL and flexor strain.

In NL Central news, the St. Louis Cardinals could be without starter Sonny Gray for Opening Day after he was diagnosed with a mild hamstring strain, the club announced Tuesday morning.

Battle for final bench spot. dark. Next. bench battle