Gerrit Cole’s first taste of big-league camp is over, as the Pirates reassigned last year’s No. 1 overall pick to the minor-league side of spring training this morning.
Cole is 21 years old and has yet to officially pitch in the minors, so the move is anything but a surprise. He appeared in a couple intrasquad games before being reassigned and figures to get more consistent work against fellow minor leaguers.
Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review writes that Cole is expected to begin this season (and make his official pro debut) at high Single-A, meaning the 6-foot-4 right-hander from UCLA is unlikely to reach the majors in 2012 unless the Pirates decide he’s worth adding to the 40-man roster for a September call-up. He did not get a major-league contract when signing on August 15, but did snag an $8 million bonus.