Curve pitcher promoted

Prized pitching prospect Nick Kingham lost his last seven decisions with the Curve, hadn’t won since April 6 and was only 1-7, yet Thursday he was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis.

The record, as is often the case in the minor leagues, is insignificant when it comes to Kingham’s development because he made all the strides the Pirates wanted to see in his second season at Double-A.

“He grew a lot in the last four starts,” Curve manager Carlos Garcia said. “For me, he decided to become the pitcher we want him to become, the competitor we want him to become.

“He showed a lot of mentality, showed a lot of progress in the last four starts. He decided to stay with the plan and stay with the process, and things paid off for him.”

Kingham, who posted a solid 3.04 ERA in 12 starts, went seven innings in each of his last four outings, although he lost three of them. But he did the one thing the Pirates preach most, which was establish better fastball command, and it paid off with fewer walks.

Garcia believes the 22-year-old pitcher finally said enough is enough after struggling with his control earlier and took a better mental approach.

“He decided, ‘You know what, I’m sick and tired of every outing I’ve got to go over the same things, I want to take ownership of my career.’ And he did that,” Garcia said.

Kingham’s overall numbers with the Curve were good but not great. He gave up 71 hits in 71 innings and walked 25 to go along with 54 strikeouts. He had a surprisingly high WHIP of 1.35, a result of so many walks early on.

He walked at least three in five of his first eight starts, but he had only four in his last 28 innings over four starts.

“He was kind of battling some control issues at the beginning of the season, walking more guys than usual,” Curve pitcher Adrian Sampson said. “I think he was just trying to make too good of pitches.”

Garcia said Kingham started pitching and not just throwing, which made a big difference.

“It was time for him to move to the next challenge, and I don’t have a doubt he’s going to be successful up there,” Garcia said.

Kingham found out the news of his promotion following the Curve’s suspended game Wednesday night.

“He was thrilled,” Sampson said. “It’s a big jump to go from Double-A to Triple-A and moves you one step closer to the big leagues. I couldn’t be happier for him.”