Chase De Jong snagged the surprise start over originally scheduled pitcher Miguel Yajure and looked pretty good in two and two-thirds innings pitched, save a two-run dinger given up to Willians Astudillo off a four-seamer in the second inning. De Jong also struck out two and walked none, while finishing the spring with a 1.88 ERA, a 0.84 WHIP, and did everything he could to earn a spot in the rotation.
However, De Jong was reassigned today which may be a bit of a surprise to some considering how strong his Spring Training was, and he will now be playing in the minors until further notice or current Pirates pitching staff injury. It’s a bit of a disappointing end for one of Pittsburgh’s best preseason stories, but I’m sure we haven’t seen the last him this year for the Buccos.
As for the rest of the game, Richard Rodriguez took the loss after giving up two runs (one earned) on two hits and a K in a single inning pitched, giving one of the Bucco’s top bullpen options a 6.75 ERA for Spring Training and us Bucs fans some nervousness heading into the start of the year.
The Pirates got a nice day at the plate from Erik Gonzalez, who smacked a two-run shot in the third off a fastball from Josh Winder to tie the game at 2-2 before the Twins retook the lead an inning later. Gonzalez finished the game 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Ke’Bryan Hayes also had a multi-hit afternoon, going 2-for-3 as well, and runs came from Michael Perez (1-for-3) off the Gonzalez dinger, and Bryan Reynolds scored in the sixth off a groundout from Kevin Newman.
Pittsburgh middle relief was overall pretty sharp, as Chris Stratton, Clay Holmes, Duane Underwood, and Tyler Bashlor all combined for four scoreless innings, but it wasn’t enough for the Buccos, as they drop to 13-14 in the Grapefruit League on the preseason.
Spring Training play wraps up tomorrow, as the Bucs take on these very same Twins in an early 12:05 start as the final warm up before things get moving for real on Thursday, April 1 against the Chicago Cubs in the Windy City.