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Pirates announce 2023 Opening Day roster, lineup against Cincinnati Reds

The Bucs’ 26-man roster is here.

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Pittsburgh Pirates Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve made it. The beginning of another season is upon us. The Pittsburgh Pirates 2023 Opening Day roster is set. Derek Shelton and staff will bring 14 pitchers and 12 position players to Cincinnati, Ohio Thursday to officially begin another year of Bucco baseball.

Only six players from last season’s debut roster remain entering the 2023 campaign. JT Brubaker marks the seventh holdover but will begin on the injured list. The first of 162 begins today.

2022 Opening Day roster

Starting Pitchers: Mitch Keller, Jose Quintana, Zach Thompson, JT Brubaker, Bryse Wilson

Relievers: Anthony Banda, David Bednar, Wil Crowe, Aaron Fletcher, Heath Hembree, Dillon Peters, Chris Stratton, Duane Underwood Jr., Miguel Yajure

Position players: Andrew Knapp, Roberto Perez, Diego Castillo, Michael Chavis, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Hoy Park, Kevin Newman, Yoshi Tsutsugo, Cole Tucker, Josh VanMeter, Daniel Vogelbach, Ben Gamel, Bryan Reynolds, Jake Marisnick

2023 Opening Day roster

Starting Pitchers: Mitch Keller, Roansy Contreras, Rich Hill, Vince Velasquez, Johan Oviedo

Relievers: David Bednar, Wil Crowe, Duane Underwood Jr., Colin Holderman, Chase De Jong, Jose Hernandez, Rob Zastryzny, Dauri Moreta

Position players: Austin Hedges, Jason Delay, Ji Hwan Bae, Rodolfo Castro, Ji-Man Choi, Oneil Cruz, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Carlos Santana, Connor Joe, Andrew McCutchen, Bryan Reynolds, Canaan Smith-Njigba, Jack Suwinski

Jason Delay and Rob Zastryzny were both added to the 40-man roster, Zastryzny making his first Opening Day spot of his career (dating back to 2016). The Bucs placed Jarlin Garcia (nerves in upper left arm) on the 60-day IL and designated Ryan Vilade for assignment. Brubaker (right elbow discomfort) and Robert Stephenson (right elbow inflammation) were both placed on the 15-day IL.

Brubaker suffered what Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette detailed as a significant injury that remains to be further evaluated but could sideline the 2022 Opening Day starter for a large portion of the season. Johan Oviedo stuck out seven, allowed two runs over five innings during his final Spring Training start, and appears next in line to fill the void left by Brubaker. Mitch Keller gets the starting nod to lead the rotation, turning his career around and looking to sustain consistent success.

Bryan Reynolds, Andrew McCutchen, Jack Suwinski, and Canaan Smith-Njigba make up an outfield primed to guide the offensive production. Improvements from Hayes over the offseason — adding muscle and driving the ball better — could help the Bucs’ corner infield positions provide increased offense. Ji Hwan Bae and Rodolfo Castro may split time at second base with no one running away with the job the past three weeks. Austin Hedges may just be keeping the seat warm for Endy Rodriguez and Henry Davis to be ready but his defensive abilities can aid the development of Contreras and Oviedo.

Opening Day Lineups

2022: 2023:

DH Daniel Vogelbach SS Oneil Cruz

CF Bryan Reynolds LF Bryan Reynolds

3B Ke’Bryan Hayes DH Andrew McCutchen

1B Yoshi Tsutsugo 1B Carlos Santana

SS Kevin Newman RF Canaan Smith-Njigba

RF Cole Tucker 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes

LF Ben Gamel CF Jack Suwinski

C Roberto Perez 2B Ji Hwan Bae

2B Hoy Park C Austin Hedges

SP JT Brubaker SP Mitch Keller

The Pirates lineup is considerably improved from what began the 2022 season. Newman and Gamel were the only starters to stick with the team throughout the season. Vogelbach was traded to the Mets, Tucker a DFA casualty, Perez hurt for the entire season, Park bouncing between the majors and Triple-A, and Tsutsugo never found the same success he displayed at the end of 2021.

Cruz leading off as a significant power/speed candidate is a unique way to begin the starting nine. Smith-Njigba’s red-hot Spring Training helps slot him in the five-hole between Santana and Hayes. Hayes and Suwinski batting sixth and seventh is a tad surprising, especially with Hayes mashing four home runs in spring after only seven last season, but lengthens the lineup against right-hander Hunter Greene.

First pitch between the Reds and Pirates is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. Let another season of Bucco baseball officially begin!