Hoping to build on a good end to his 2022 season, right handed pitcher Mitch Keller is going to be the Pirates Opening Day starter.
Manager Derek Shelton surprised Keller with the news while having a one-on-one meeting with the pitcher, which was recorded.
Asking how many pitches Keller threw during a side session, Shelton asked how him how many pitches he thinks he will throw on March 30.
“Uh, I have no idea, what’s the 30th?” asked Keller.
“Opening Day,” Shelton said with a smile on his face.
The two then embraced with Keller’s colorful language being edited by the Pirates staff as he expressed his excitement.
Shelton handed Keller a bottle of Champagne and told him how proud he is of the hard work he’s been putting in.
Keller said “that’s f*****g awesome,” before adding this work is “not done.”
At the beginning of July, Keller’s ERA was up to 5.21 but better pitching helped him lower that to 3.91 by the end of the season.
Keller ended up going 5-12 in 2022.
He’s had a few setbacks with injuries and being sent to the minors for more development, but if he can build on the end of his 2022 season, the 26-year-old will be the pitcher the Pirates have believed he can be.