Pittsburgh Pirates Minor League Notes – April 9: Gerrit Cole, Starling Marte, Charlie Morton

- Right-handed pitcher Charlie Morton threw 7.2 innings for the Pittsburgh Pirates’ AAA affiliate Indianapolis Indians. He threw 98 pitches, struck out eight and allowed a run on six hits.

It was the 28-year-old’s only planned rehab start, and he remains in line to rejoin the major league club on Friday when he becomes eligible. He will likely start the team’s game on Saturday against the San Francisco Giants.

- Center fielder Starling Marte hit a lead off home run today for the Indians. He finished with two hits and his first stolen base of the season. In four games on the year, Marte is batting .353.

- Top prospect Gerrit Cole made his first professional start today with the A+ Bradenton Marauders. He went four innings and threw an unofficial 63 pitches, giving up four hits and a run. He struck out seven batters and walked one. The no. 1 overall pick in 2011 was dominant overall in his debut.

Cole’s start compares favorably to Jameson Taillon‘s first start of the season. On Saturday, Taillon allowed two runs on two hits and two walks in 3.2 IP. MLB.com’s no. 8 overall prospect struck out six after finishing last season with 97 strikeouts in 92.2 innings.

- In low-A West Virginia, top hitting prospect Josh Bell did not play. He is 3/17 with a double and three RBI in four games so far. He also has three walks and eight strikeouts and has played exclusively right field.

The Pirates face 2011 Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers tomorrow at 4:10 PM.

Check out my recap of the team’s season-opening series with the Philadelphia Phillies.

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