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Game Thread: Joe Musgrove is a Bucco

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MLB: Spring Training-Pittsburgh Pirates at Toronto Blue Jays Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Musgrove, obtained in the off-season as the featured piece of the Gerrit Cole trade with Houston, will make his season debut after being sidelined in Spring Training with shoulder discomfort.

Musgrove, the former high school teammate of Steven Brault, had been a starter coming up through the Astros, but last year was switched to the pen after compiling a 6.12 ERA in 15 starts - but then had a 1.48 ERA in 22 relief appearances and was a key part of the stretch drive the resulted in a World Series championship.

Overall last year his fastball averaged 93.1 mph after 91.7 as a starter in 2016. His total fastball usage was under 50%, as he threw his slider 30% along with a curve and change at 9% each - but those ratios may not hold up as a starting pitcher.

The Cardinals counter with 25 year old right-hander John Gant who originally came to the majors with the Braves in 2016 and came to St. Louis in the Jaime Garcia trade in December of that year. He threw 17 innings for the Cardinals last year and is making his fourth start of 2018.

In 33 career starts in Triple-A Gant had a 3.71 ERA, averaging 2.8 walks and 8.5 strikeouts every nine innings. In 84 23 major league innings, he has a 4.78 ERA, averaging 3.8 walks and 8.3 strikeouts. His fastball checks in at 92.7 mph, and he throws a change 23% and curve 15%.

Catcher Yadier Molina is on the disabled list for the Cardinals and Jedd Gyorko starts at short in place of the injured Paul DeJong. They will send on three left-handed bats against the righty Musgrove.

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CARDINALS

1 R Tommy Pham CF

2 L Matt Carpenter 3B

3 R Jose Martinez 1B

4 R Marcell Ozuna LF

5 R Jedd Gyorko SS

6 S Dexter Fowler RF

7 R Francisco Pena C

8 L Kolten Wong 2B

9 R John Gant RHP

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PIRATES

1 R Josh harrison 2B

2 L Gregory Polanco RF

3 R Francisco Cervelli C

4 S Josh Bell 1B

5 L Corey Dickerson LF

6 L Colin Moran 3B

7 L Austin Meadows CF

8 R Jordy Mercer SS

9 R Joe Musgrove RHP