Pirates send former No. 1 pick Gerrit Cole to Triple-A

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Pittsburgh has reassigned Gerrit Cole to Triple-A after the former No. 1 overall pick threw 10 spring training innings.

Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette writes that Cole “believes he is ready to pitch in the major leagues and was upset by the reassignment,” but realistically he was always likely to begin this season in the minors considering he’s 22 years old with all of 13 starts above Double-A.

Cole has lived up to the hype since the Pirates selected him out of the UCLA and ranks as a top-10 prospect according to Baseball America, but so far the only players from the 2011 first round to reach the majors are Trevor Bauer and Dylan Bundy (and only briefly in both cases).

Cole was asked whether he thought service time considerations were the cause of his not making the Opening Day roster and replied that “maybe somebody else has a better idea about that.” However, given that he’s made just one start at Triple-A it’s awfully hard to assume the Pirates deciding he needs more time in the minors is anything but development based.

Pirates activate Starling Marte

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is back in the lineup after the team reinstated him from the 10-day disabled list on Saturday. Marte served the bare minimum on the DL after making a rapid recovery from the right oblique strain that sidelined him several weeks ago.

Prior to landing on the disabled list, the 29-year-old outfielder was off to a strong start. He slashed a robust .308/.366/.503 with six home runs, 10 stolen bases and an .869 OPS in 175 plate appearances with the team. This is the first time he’s dealt with an oblique issue, and the first DL stint he’s served since he suffered a bout of back tightness in 2016. While he has yet to prove he can bounce back to his pre-injury production levels, his quick recovery bodes well for a successful return to major-league play.

In a corresponding move, outfielder Jose Osuna was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. The move came as somewhat of a surprise, given that the Pirates elected to retain top prospect outfielder Austin Meadows rather than the more established Osuna. Meadows was recalled from Triple-A in the wake of Marte’s injury and has only played seven games at the major league level so far, but he’s already made a strong impression: he went 13-for-29 with three home runs, two stolen bases and five RBI since his call-up on May 18.