18 Apr

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The lengthy list of Mississippi natives to play in the big leagues grew over the weekend when Konnor Pilkington debuted for Cleveland. The tall left-hander, a Pascagoula native who played high school ball at East Central, showed some staying power. He made his first appearance for the Guardians last Friday with a scoreless inning of work and pitched again on Sunday, tossing two perfect innings against San Francisco in an 8-1 loss. Pilkington is one of those players who seemed destined to make The Show. He was an All-American in high school, tossing an 18-strikeout no-hitter on one occasion. He signed with Mississippi State, where his stuff was better than his numbers (14-12 with a 3.47 ERA) over three years. He also pitched for the Collegiate National Team while in Starkville. The Chicago White Sox picked him in the third round in 2018, and he made steady progress in their system before being traded to Cleveland last July for big league second baseman Cesar Hernandez. Pilkington made the Guardians’ 40-man roster in the off-season and got into some big league spring games, pitching well enough to make the expanded opening day roster. He was optioned to Triple-A briefly before being recalled on Friday. He walked the first batter he faced — the Giants’ Brandon Belt — but got a strikeout, a ground out and a fly ball to end the inning. Pilkington was 12-16, 3.84 in the minors working primarily as a starter; he throws four pitches and has demonstrated durability. He can have an impact for Cleveland.

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