Cole shines in professional debut

Cole shines in professional debut

Cole shines in professional debut
Gerrit Cole's formal professional debut on Monday night reaffirmed his status as one of the Pirates' top prospects, while dramatizing why the club has such high hopes for its No. 1 Draft pick.

In his first pro appearance outside of the Arizona Fall League, Cole, the Pirates' No. 2 prospect and MLB.com's No. 11 prospect, started for the high Class A Bradenton Marauders at Palm Beach and featured a 97-mph fastball while striking out seven and allowing one hit in four innings.

Cole, the No. 1 choice in last June's First-Year Player Draft, allowed one run and issued one walk.

Concurrent with Cole's outing in the Florida State League, Charlie Morton was making a rehab start for Triple-A Indianapolis in Columbus and was equally brilliant.

Morton struck out eight in 7 2/3 innings facing a lineup that included several Major League veterans, including former Pirates third baseman Andy LaRoche and outfielder Ryan Spilborghs.

Morton, on target to join the Pirates rotation for a start this weekend in San Francisco, gave up six hits and a walk while being charged with one run.

Ironically, the starts of both Cole and Morton ended in walk-off defeats. The Clippers scored three in the ninth to stun the Indians, 7-6, while Bradenton lost 2-1 on a homer with two outs in ninth by Nicholas Longmire.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.