Stingy Keller gets stung on mound

Bucs No. 2 prospect exits after 4 2/3 shutout frames for Marauders

Mitch Keller has held Florida State League foes to a .196 average in 39 innings this season. (Mark LoMoglio/Tampa Yankees)

By Kelsie Heneghan / MiLB.com | May 10, 2017 11:53 PM ET

There was a buzz surrounding Mitch Keller on Wednesday. And not just because he recently became the Pirates' top pitching prospect.

"I stepped back on the mound and came set to pitch and I got stung by a bee," he said with a laugh.

Keller was stung on his forearm after allowing one hit over 4 2/3 scoreless innings in Class A Advanced Bradenton's 5-1 win at Jupiter. He struck out four and walked two.


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After a mound visit with two outs in the fifth, Keller was about to pitch to Rodrigo Vigil when the insect invaded his space.

"It definitely surprised me and stung pretty good," he said. "I don't ever remember being stung before in my life."

The 21-year-old, of course, was wearing the trademark black-and-yellow colors of the Marauders ... and of the bee. Keller admitted he might have preferred that sting to an unexpected snake appearance .

Prior to that, Keller retired the first nine batters he faced with ease. After a leadoff walk to Kyle Barrett in the fourth, MLB.com's No. 41 overall prospect induced two big groundouts, including a double play to get out of the inning. He generated eight groundouts.

After two quick outs in the fifth, Keller allowed a single by John Silviano, then plunked Brian Schales before the bee zeroed in. The right-hander walked Virgil, which got his inning pitch count up to 19, nearing his limit.

"I thought it went pretty well," the Iowa native said. "Fell behind some hitters in the fifth inning, which didn't allow me to finish the fifth, but other than that, I thought it was very good."

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Keller lowered his ERA to 2.54 in 39 innings across seven starts this season. The 2014 second-round pick has spun 18 2/3 straight scoreless innings with 22 strikeouts over his last three outings.

"Just [been] attacking hitters and showing offspeed to them early," he said." I've been keeping them off balance, which has been huge."

Following Keller's exit, Jess Amedee (3-0) worked around a run on two hits and three walks with two strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings.

Logan Hill led the Marauders with a two-run double in the third.

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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