Following some tough losses against the Rays and Blue Jays, the Pittsburgh Pirates have begun to regroup with some recent callups. To fill the void at short stop, the team is reportedly promoting infielder Chris Owings. In addition to Owings, Pittsburgh will be welcoming pitcher Luis Ortiz to the mound to start against Colorado.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazettes’ Jason Mackey was the first to break the news on Ortiz officially being in the Burgh with expectations to help fill a hole in the starting rotation. The loss of Vince Velasquez to the IL prompted this promotion as the big rookie will have equally big shoes to fill.
Sources: Luis Ortiz is in Pittsburgh. Expectation is for him to start Tuesday.— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) May 8, 2023
A year ago, Ortiz was just another guy, but the progress he has made since it was earned him this callup. Last year the Dominican native started out in Double-A Altoona where he was impressing with his incredible pitch speed, regularly hitting triple digits. At the tail end of the season, the Pirates gave Ortiz his shot with four starts to close out 2022.
During Spring Training, Ortiz was already viewed as one of the most likely players to receive a shot with the Pirates in 2023. After four decent starts the season prior, and an assignment to the Dominican Republic’s national team, the Pirates’ staff saw a strong candidate for promotion. The seven game skid that the team just endured did little to help an already thinning rotations, as most of the starters were unable to keep up with the teams lack of offense.
The team is certainly looking to bounce back after a hard stretch, but a dominant start by Mitch Keller in the start of the Rockies’ series is a step in the right direction. The young Ortiz is another piece to the puzzle, as they make moves back to winning ball games.
General Manager Ben Cherington was excited at the prospect of Ortiz being able to step in on Tuesday.
“He’s got ability, really good pitches, competitive. He’s used his time at Indy to his benefit. He’s in a good spot physically. His delivery is in a better spot than it was in spring training, he’s throwing strikes. We expect him to compete and attack the zone. If he does that, he’ll be effective.”
This season in Indianapolis Ortiz was holding batters to a .174 batting average, with 29 strikeouts, and a 2.23 ERA. Ortiz will look to build on that dominant stretch as he makes his first start of the season in the black and gold.