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Gerrit Cole Successful In Bradenton Debut

The Bradenton Marauders, the Pirates' Class A+ affiliate, lost to Palm Beach 2-1 on Monday, but the loss was secondary in importance to the performance of Gerrit Cole, who struck out seven batters in four innings in his first official pro start.

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Cole allowed four hits, one walk and one run.

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Cole pitched in the Arizona Fall League last year, but Monday was his first start for any of the Pirates' minor-league affiliates. The top overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft evidently threw 97 MPH in the start.

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Ideally, the Pirates would probably like to send Cole to Class AA Altoona within a month or so, and starts like these ensure that he stays on track. As a top draft pick from a big college program, Cole could be in the majors by the middle of the 2013 season.

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For more on the Pirates, be sure to check out Bucs Dugout.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.