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After Several Attempts, Paul Skenes Finally Received Call to Pirates



Paul Skenes, Pittsburgh Pirates

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Pirates’ fans have been clamoring to have Paul Skenes promoted to the big leagues from just about the time he was drafted with the first pick in last year’s draft.

Well it finally happened. Skenes will make his MLB debut against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday at PNC Park.

While Skenes made it to Pittsburgh ahead of his first-career start, it was a call that was initially missed – three times to be exact.

Exhale, Pirates’ fans. It was a message that was ultimately received. 

“So we had an 11 a.m. game and I had a bullpen in the morning,” Skenes explained at a press conference at PNC Park. “So waking up at 7 a.m. during the season is not fun. I headed over to the stadium early, got that stuff done, played the game. Went home, took a nap and then woke up to three missed calls from our manager, (Miguel Perez). Called him back and got the call.”

Skenes was with Triple-A Indianapolis in Louisville, Ky., as the Indians were in the middle of a series with the Bats in International League action. 

Perez, who has a knack for messing with prospects before telling someone he has been promoted to the big leagues, did not spare the Pirates’ top farmhand.

When Perez called Skenes, the Indians’ manager acted like they had dinner plans and Skenes left him hanging. After that conversation went on for a bit, Perez finally got to the point of the phone call. 

(Perez) says, ‘are you really gonna make me look for another pitcher on Saturday?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know, am I?’ He says, ‘yeah, you are. You’re going to the show.’ About a two-minute phone call. I had to make a lot of other phone calls right after,” Skenes said.

Skenes had been deemed ready by seemingly everyone across the league. Skenes, however, wasn’t sure when the call would come. 

“I didn’t really know what to expect.,” he said. I kinda knew that once the buildup had finished that it could happen, but I didn’t really know when that buildup was going to finish. In my mind, I’ve felt ready since the beginning of the offseason. But obviously, the club has their definition of ‘ready’ in terms of building me up. You can’t just show up in spring training and throw seven innings, even if I feel like I can. Yeah, it’s just been taking it a day at a time and trying not to worry too much about that.” 

Skenes’ big-league debut marks one of the more anticipated ones in the sport’s recent history.

The 6-foot-6 right-hander is considered to be the top pitching prospect in baseball. At the time he was drafted, evaluators considered Paul Skenes to be the top pitching prospect available in the draft since Stephen Strasburg went first overall in 2009. 

It’s a moment Skenes has been waiting for his whole life. His goal for his first time in the big leagues as the hype around him builds is simple.

“To shove,” Skenes said with a smile.

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Eric Tanner

Awesome I’m in a hospital in Massachusetts but I’m going to be watching on my phone on Amazon prime. Can’t wait.

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