Potential Pirates ace-of-the-future Gerrit Cole is not always a man of few words, but he can be. And he certainly was on Saturday night.
After striking out seven over six solid innings to win his Triple-A debut in Indianapolis' 8-4 victory over visiting Toledo, MLB.com's eighth-ranked prospect summed up the sequence of his callup to the International League.
On whether he expected the promotion, which was announced Saturday: "Not at all."
On how he was informed by Double-A Altoona manager P.J. Forbes: "P.J. told me."
On whether Forbes, as is baseball custom, beat around the bush or fooled Cole before delivering the news: "He told me straight out."
On how excited Cole was to be at Triple-A after only 25 professional starts: "The goal is to get to the big leagues. I'll just keep charging along."
That, Cole is. In his first IL impression, the 21-year-old right-hander (he turns 22 next Saturday) only stumbled briefly: Following an 89-minute rain delay, the Mud Hens started the game with three straight singles, a sacrifice fly and Danny Dorn's two-run triple.
"They came real aggressive and jumped on me," Cole said.
Over his final five frames, however, the curt UCLA product was dictating the action. He gave up only two more hits and a walk.
"I just tried to make better pitches," he said.
Working with a strong slider and changeup and locating that famous high-90s fastball to both sides of the plate, Cole threw 55 of 88 pitches for strikes. The Bucs' brass limited the top overall pick in the 2011 Draft after he threw 110 in his final Eastern League outing on Monday. Cole said he expects to be allowed to throw 100 in the postseason; the Indians (87-55) already have wrapped up the West Division.
"This team is really cohesive. All they care about is winning," Cole said. "I was happy to help them out."
Start No. 27 of his season (and career) will come with Cole at 9-7 and sporting a sterling 2.77 ERA to go with 136 strikeouts in 132 innings. With numbers like that, he may not have long before he'll have to tell one more callup tale. That one should be a bit more interesting, if not as concise.
Cole's counterpart on the mound Saturday, Toledo's Casey Crosby (7-9), gave up five runs on five hits and exited with two outs in the second.