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Does Stolmy Pimentel Have A Shot to Crack Pittsburgh Pirates’ Starting Rotation?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Stolmy Pimentel, a 24-year-old right-hander, got the start on the bump for the Pittsburgh Pirates this past weekend against the Philadelphia Phillies, tossing two shutout innings and surrendering only a single hit while striking out one in the Pirates’ 4-1 win. This was Pimentel’s first appearance of the 2014 season, and he looked quite sharp during his two innings of work. The start could be a sign of things to come, as Pirates manager Clint Hurdle gave an interview where he stated that Pimentel would be one of a handful of guys who would be given some lengthier outings to see what they can do.

Pimentel was acquired at the end of 2012 in the Joel Hanrahan deal with the Boston Red Sox and pitched only 3.2 innings during last year’s Spring Training, though he put up similar numbers. Last season, Pimentel spent the majority of the season at AAA Indianapolis, starting 14 games and posting a 3.13 ERA over 92 innings. In September 2013, Pimentel made his Major League debut, ultimately appearing in five games in middle-relief for the Pirates. He had a few very solid outings and surrendered his only earned runs in a single outing against the St. Louis Cardinals.

So, does Pimentel have a chance? In a word, yes. Stolmy Pimentel does have a shot to be the Pirates’ fifth starter, but he’s going to need some outside help. A lackluster performance from newly acquired Edinson Volquez, an injury to Wandy Rodriguez or Jeff Locke being the “real” Jeff Locke paired with a near perfect and overpowering Spring Training by Pimentel would likely yield an opportunity. Make no mistake, Volquez nor Locke have cemented themselves into the fifth spot of the rotation at this point, though most would agree that the nod is likely going to be given to Volquez. The better chance for Pimentel may come via the bullpen, where he could become the team’s starter-in-waiting, being used for the occasional spot-start or in long relief opportunities.

Vinny Gala is a Pittsburgh Pirates writer for RantSports.com.  Follow him on Twitter @VinnyGala