Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Big Day for Travis Swaggerty in Doubleheader & More
By Marty Leap
While the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians have been playing games since last week, the Pittsburgh Pirates Double-A affiliate, the Altoona Curve, joined the fray on Thursday
The minor league baseball season is now one step closer to being in full swing. On Thursday, Double-A Altoona played their 2023 season openers. With this, the Pittsburgh Pirates now have two of their four minor league seasons underway.
The one Pirate minor league team that had already started their season before Thursday was the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. Still searching for their first victory of the season, the Indians played a doubleheader against the Louisville Bats on Thursday.
Game one of the doubleheader saw Travis Swaggerty lead the game off with his 1st home run of the season. This was part of Swaggerty going 1-for-3 with his home run, being hit by a pitch, and scoring a pair of runs in game one.
Swaggerty's blast set the tone in a 5-3 victory for Indianapolis, giving them their first win of the season. Tucupita Marcano started in left field and went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and a run scored. Endy Rodriguez was 0-for-2 with a walk and an RBI, Mark Mathias went 2-for-2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch, and Malcolm Nuñez was 1-for-4.
Luis Ortiz started game two for Indy, allowing a run on three hits, a walk, and seven strikeouts in 4.2 innings pitched. Ortiz owns a 1.08 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 8.1 innings pitched through his first two starts this season.
After Daniel Zamora got the final out of the 5th inning, Robert Stephenson took the mound to continue his rehab outing. Stephenson recorded two outs, allowing 2 runs on two hits, two walks, a home run, and a strikeout along the way. Yerry De Los Santos then allowed a hit and issued a walk in 1.1 scoreless innings pitched to pick up the save.
In game two Swaggerty was off and running again. He tripled to start the game and came around to score on a triple by Marcano who was at shortstop for game two. Swaggerty finished game two of the DH 3-for-4 at the plate.
Swaggerty was one of the stars of spring training for the Pittsburgh Pirates. If his spring success at the plate carries over to the regular season, which thus far it has, he will find himself back in the majors sooner rather than later.
Also, Marcano is a player at Triple-A who should not be overlooked. He can play all over the field and is a player the Pirate remain high on. Marcano is in just his age-23 season, so it is not unreasonable to think he could make a jump as a hitter this season. If that were to occur he will put himself in position to join the MLB roster as well.
Osvaldo Bido started game two for Indy, allowing a hit and striking out three in 3 scoreless innings pitched. Cody Bolton followed Bido and looked really strong in his 2 scoreless innings of work. Bolton sat in the 92-94 range with his fastball and his new "sweeper" pitch worked really well for him.
Yohan Ramirez was summoned after Bolton. Like Bolton, Ramirez was asked to cover multiple innings out of the Indy bullpen. Like Bolton, Ramirez had an impressive outing pitching 1.2 scoreless, hitless innings of relief while striking out four batters
Lefty Angel Perdomo was called upon to get the final out of the game. Perdomo struck out the lone batter he faced to finish off a 1-0 victory for the Indians, giving them a sweep of the DH to improve to 2-4 on the season.