Pirates fans are still going to have to wait a while before they see Gerrit Cole at PNC Park, but the hard-throwing righty will get a chance to pitch in a major league stadium today.
The top prospect in the Pirates organization, Cole was selected to pitch in the MLB All-Star Futures Game, which will be held at 5 p.m. at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City -- the site of Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game.
Today's contest will be the 14th installment of the Futures Game, and fans can catch a glimpse of tomorrow as baseball's best young players convene in the Show Me State.
"It's a really great privilege to go and be able to play in that game," Cole said before adding, "You're always excited to go to a venue like that, and you play the game for exciting things like that."
Cole was promoted to Double-A in the middle of June and has since made three starts for the Curve. In those three outings, Cole has compiled a 2-1 record to go along with a 4.63 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings.
The first pick in last year's MLB draft is slated to throw one inning in the Futures Game, though it's not clear what inning that will be. Curve pitching coach Jeff Johnson said Cole -- who hasn't pitched since July 2 -- did some work during the week to get him ready for one frame today.
Johnson added Cole, who departed Altoona for Kansas City early Saturday morning, will rejoin the Curve's rotation after the All-Star break. And as of Friday, Cole's next start was scheduled to be July 14 at Akron -- the Curve's third game after the break.
"I didn't give him much [advice for the Futures Game]," Johnson said. "Just told him to go have a good time, enjoy the experience and represent us proud, that's it."
Cole will not be the only Pirates representative in Kansas City this weekend, as Jameson Taillon, the organization's other top arm, is on the Futures Game roster as well.
Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft, is currently pitching for high-A Bradenton, where he is 5-6 with a 4.05 ERA in 16 games. While his numbers aren't great for the season, Taillon has been efficient lately. In his last three starts, the 6-foot-6 right hander is 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA.
Cole and Taillon -- who will be on the same team today -- were teammates earlier this season as Cole started the season with Bradenton. Cole said they built a relationship while he was in Florida, and the two prized prospects still keep in touch with Cole in Altoona.
"We're pretty close, we talk almost every day," Cole said. "It's going to be nice to go out there and see him."
Baseball America revealed its top 50 prospects list earlier in the week, and both Cole and Taillon are near the top of it. Cole was rated as the No. 6 prospect in all of baseball, while Taillon came in nine spots behind him at No. 15.
The Pirates had a total of four prospects in the top 50 -- with outfielder Starling Marte at No. 36 and shortstop Alen Hanson at No. 40 -- and Pittsburgh is one of five major league teams to have two pitching prospects represent their farm system at the Futures Game.
"I think it's real big for [Cole], but also for the organization," Curve manager P.J. Forbes said. "We're sending two guys that are future starters in the big leagues. Everybody is going to get to see them, so I think it's exciting and I think it tells everyone where the Pirates are headed."