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Contreras to make big league debut

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Rookie right-hander gets the call as Pirates host Cubs at PNC Park

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates-Workouts Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Cubs (67-90) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (59-98), Sept. 29, 2021 @ 6:35 p.m.

Location: PNC Park, Pittsburgh

TV: AT&T Sports Pittsburgh

Radio: 93.7 The Fan

Cubs SB Nation Site: bleedcubbieblue..com

Projected Starters

Cubs: Kyle Hendricks – RHP – (14-7) — 4.81 ERA — 126 total Ks

Pirates: Roansy Contreras – RHP – (0-0) – 0.00 ERA – 0 total Ks

Probable Starting Lineups (subject to change)

Cubs

1. Rafael Ortega — CF

2. Frank Schwindel — 1B

3. Willson Contreras — C

4. Ian Happ — LF

5. Matt Duffy – 3B

6. Nick Martini — RF

7. David Bote – 2B

8. Sergio Alcantara — SS

9. Kyle Hendricks — P

Pirates

1. Michael Chavis – 2B

2. Yoshi Tsutsugo — RF

3. Bryan Reynolds — CF

4. Colin Moran — 1B

5. Ben Gamel — LF

6. Kevin Newman — SS

7. Michael Perez — C

8. Hoy Park – 3B

9. Roansy Contreras — P

Pittsburgh Pirates fans who still follow the club will get a glimpse into the future tonight when the team’s second-rated pitching prospect takes the mound in a 6:30 p.m. matchup with the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park.

Roansy Contreras, a 21-year-old right-hander who came to the Pirates in the Jameson Taillon trade last winter, will be making his big league debut against the Cubs.

The 6-foot, 175-pound Contreras, rated as the Bucs’ No. 6 prospect by MLB Pipeline and No. 3 by FanGraphs, spent most of this season at Double-A Altoona before earning a promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis.

He made 12 starts at Altoona but missed a sizable chunk of the season with right forearm discomfort. The Dominican Republic native started nine games for the Curve before going on the injured list at the end of June. Prior to his injury, Contreras was 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA. In 46 innings, he gave up 31 hits and 11 walks while striking out 65. Opponents hit just .186 and had a .519 OPS against him during that stretch.

Contreras made three more starts for the Curve after returning from the injury at the beginning of September and went 0-1 with a 4.32 ERA. Opponents still had trouble hitting him; his batting average against was actually lower — .182 – than it was prior to his injury and his OPS was .623. He worked 8 1/3 innings during those three starts and gave up six hits and one walk while striking out 11, but two of those hits left the yard.

In his only Triple-A start, which came on Sept. 22 against Omaha, Contreras worked 3 2/3 innings and gave up four hits and one run, walking one and striking out six in 65 pitches, 42 of which were strikes.

Contreras did appear in two spring training games for the Pirates, earning a win and a save. He pitched a scoreless inning against Minnesota to earn his save, striking out three and walking one. According to Rotowire, Contreras hit 98 mph with his fastball and showed a sharp-breaking curve ball. Overall in the spring Contreras worked two innings, walking two and striking out five.

Pirates manager Derek Shelton told MLB.com he was looking forward to seeing Contreras in action.

“We’re getting to take a look at one of our prospects — one of our top prospects,” Shelton said. “I think we temper all excitement, just like we do with any situation, but it’s just a credit to our development group as we continue to move guys forward.”