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Trevor Bauer shaky in major league debut

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The Trevor Bauer experience got off to a bit of a shaky start tonight in Atlanta. In the most hyped debut for a starting pitcher since Yu Darvish in April, the 2011 No. 3 overall pick allowed two runs over four innings as part of a no-decision against the Braves.

Bauer struck out Michael Bourn looking on a 3-2 pitch to begin his major league career and was able to get out of the first inning unscathed after giving up a two-out single to Martin Prado. The Braves threatened in the second inning after Chipper Jones singled and Freddie Freeman doubled, but the 21-year-old right-hander was able to get Andrelton Simmons on a ground out and Jair Jurrjens to strike out to escape.

Things got pretty dicey in a 30-pitch third inning. He walked three, hit a batter and gave up an RBI double to Brian McCann. The inning even included a visit from the team trainer, but the rookie right-hander checked out OK. He was pretty fortunate to get out of it with just one run crossing the plate. Bauer gave up a sacrifice fly in his final inning of work before Gerardo Parra pinch-hit for him with two outs in the top of the fifth.

All told, Bauer allowed five hits while walking three, striking out three and hitting a batter. He threw 42 out of 74 pitches for strikes. It’s worth noting that he threw 50 pitches Sunday during his final start with Triple-A Reno, so the Diamondbacks likely planned to have a quick hook all along.

It was a pretty uneven debut for Bauer, but it’s easy to see why he has garnered so much attention. While he didn’t have his best curveball working, he was hitting 95 mph with his fastball and showcased his wide assortment of pitches. He’ll be a lot of fun to watch moving forward.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.