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Pirates' Gerrit Cole To Be Promoted To Altoona

The Pirates will promote top prospect Gerrit Cole to Class AA Altoona, the Bradenton Marauders said Friday afternoon.

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Cole will be promoted June 20 and will make his Class AA debut that night as the Curve faces New Britain.

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It's a little surprising that the Pirates waited this long to promote Cole. The Pirates typically promote their prospects on a very conservative schedule, and sensibly so, but Cole was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, and he hailed from a big college program at UCLA. Most teams probably wouldn't have felt he needed so much time at Class A+.

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Nonetheless, Cole's numbers at Bradenton were solid -- he struck out 69 batters in 67 innings and posted a 2.55 ERA. In his last start on Thursday against Fort Myers, he pitched five shutout innings and struck out seven batters.

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For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

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