Cruz to start in Altoona

Opening roster set

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ No. 2 prospect, infielder Oneil Cruz, highlights the 28-man Altoona Curve opening-day roster, which was announced Friday.

Other top 30 prospects on the roster include pitcher Cody Bolton (No. 6), infielder Ji-Hwan Bae (No. 9), infielder Mason Martin (No. 16), outfielder Cal Mitchell (No. 19), infielder Rodolfo Castro (No. 22), pitcher Max Kranick (No. 23) and pitcher Travis MacGregor (No. 28). Cruz, Castro and Kranick are also members of the Pirates’ 40-man roster.

The roster features six players who have worn a Curve uniform prior to 2021 — Bolton, Cruz, catcher Arden Pabst, outfielder Bligh Madris, pitcher Shea Murray and pitcher John O’Reilly.

The starting pitchers are Roansy Contreras, MacGregor, Noe Toribio, Kranick, Osvaldo Bido and Jeffrey Passantino with relief pitchers Cam Alldred, Bolton, Yerry De Los Santos, Will Gardner, Murray, Oddy Nunez, O’Reilly and Hunter Stratton.

Contreras and outfielder Canaan Smith-Njigba were acquired by the Pirates in a five-player deal with the New York Yankees for Jameson Taillon in January.

Pirates 2019 Minor League Player of the Year Martin leads an infield that will include Bae, Cruz and Castro with Josh Bissonette, Brendt Citta and Ethan Paul.

Smith-Njigba, Daniel Amaral, Jonah Davis, Madris, and Cal Mitchell will roam the outfield to begin the campaign.

Catchers include Raul Hernandez, Pabst and Deon Stafford.

The Curve open their 22nd season of play at Peoples Natural Gas Field at 6 p.m. Tuesday against the Bowie Baysox.


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