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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Nick Kingham’s dream to pitch in the major leagues finally came true, and he gave an opening performance like few others in history, followed by another strong effort to help his team win back-to-back games.
But his next opportunity will have to wait until sometime later this season as his team will replace one high-achieving prospect on the roster with another.
The Pirates announced Monday Kingham will be optioned back to Triple-A Indianapolis, and the team is expected to recall utility man Jose Osuna before their two-game series in Chicago Wednesday night against the White Sox. Osuna was the International League Player of the Month in April, hitting .361 and leading the league in extra base hits (12) and slugging percentage (.656).
Osuna, who plays four different positions between the infield and outfield, has played all but one game with Indianapolis this season. The Pirates recalled him on April 25 as the 26th man on the roster in a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers at PNC Park. Osuna started in right field in the second game of the twin bill and hit a three-run home run in his first at-bat, helping the Pirates to an 8-3 win.
Kingham, a 26-year-old righthander, threw seven scoreless innings in his first Major League Baseball appearance on April 29 against the St. Louis Cardinals. He retired the first 20 batters he faced, becoming the first pitcher since 1974 to make it through six perfect innings in his big league debut.
In his second start, Kingham allowed four runs in 5.1 innings with seven strikeouts to beat the Milwaukee Brewers. Since the schedule sets up for the Pirates to rotate only four starting pitchers on regular rest, they decided to send Kingham down so he can continue to start every fifth day.
The Pirates have Monday night off before finishing a nine-game road trip in Chicago. After another day off Thursday, they will face former Pirates Andrew McCutchen in his return to Pittsburgh with the San Francisco Giants.