Kingham Makes Push to be Fifth Starter

Righty is out of minor-league options

Jeff Hathhorn
March 19, 2019 - 8:37 am

93.7 the Fan

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL (93.7 the Fan) – The only spot open in the Pirates starting rotation remains open for right now.  Righty Nick Kingham followed up his bad outing against the Braves with five scoreless innings against what was mostly Tampa Bay’s starting lineup in a 4-2 Pirates win Monday.

Kingham, who is out of minor-league options,  was able to get out in front of most counts and said he was able to be aggressive and the “enforcer” and dictated how the at bats went.

In five starts this spring, Kingham has given up no runs, five runs, no runs, five runs and no runs which has totaled to a 5.09 ERA with eight walks and 13 strikeouts.

“I feel like I left it all out there,” Kingham said of his performance during Grapefruit League games.  “Nothing I didn’t try, with timing or pitches and different approaches.  I did everything I could.  I left it all on the table and now it’s out of my hands.  I feel good about it though, either way.  I’m happy and I will be ok with the decision.”

It’s down to Kingham, veteran free agent signee Jordan Lyles and lefty Steven Brault, who is scheduled to pitch on Tuesday for the last rotation spot.  Brault will make his third start holding a 6.30 ERA with five walks and six strikeouts.

Lyles, has a 4.91 spring ERA, pitched a four inning simulated game at LECOM Park Monday morning and faced Pirates regulars Josh Bell, Adam Frazier, Jung –Ho Kang and Gregory Polanco and said there was no recurrence of his side issue that caused him to leave his last appearance.

“I’m good to go and feel like I’m right on course to be ready for the season,” Lyles said. 

A decision could come as soon as following Brault’s outing or maybe not until they leave Florida.

“You are thinking about it a lot,” Kingham said.  “Anyone who says they are not thinking about it, not stressing or concerned.  They are lying.  It’s on my mind, yeah, I’m going to like one position more than another.  It’s not like you can go back and storm in there (manager’s office) and say ‘no, give me that position.  You are wrong.’”

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