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Kyle McPherson Makes Push for Pittsburgh Pirates Rotation Spot

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The spring hadn’t been going that well for Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Kyle McPherson. He came into Thursday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies with an earned run average of 9.39, but after five shutout innings he now has to be considered a strong candidate for the rotation.

The 25-year-old Alabama native has limited big league experience. He pitched in 10 games for the Pirates last season and was pretty successful, with an ERA 2.73. He started three of those games and ended up with a record of 0-2.

With this performance McPherson has probably put himself ahead of Jeff Locke for the fifth spot in the rotation. Locke got beat around a bit on Monday, his last outing. He allowed eight hits and two runs against the Baltimore Orioles in just 3 1/3 innings pitched. Each pitcher will probably get at least two more starts to hash out what is frankly a muddled mess right now.

Even though the Pirates dropped Thursday’s game to the Phillies 2-1 there was a couple of other good things to take away for Pirates fans. Neil Walker collected two hits in three at bats and Andrew McCutchen smacked his first double of the spring and brought his batting average up to .200.

The Pirates are now 8-11 in Grapefruit League play and though the games don’t count it would be nice to see this team playing better halfway through March. Just like everything the last 20 years nothing seems to come easy for this team. It would be nice to see the young guys step up and wow us so that we wouldn’t have to rely on past their prime veterans such as Felix Pie and Brandon Inge, but it looks like that is the road this team is headed down.

Darren Pare is a Pittsburgh Pirates writer for RantSports.com.  Follow him on Twitter at dpare71, like  him on Facebook or add  him to your network on Google.