Bednar allowed two earned runs on two hits (both solo homers) and no walks in one inning of Wednesday's 11-4 loss to Cincinnati. He struck out two batters. In an effort to get him some work, Bednar entered Wednesday's game with his team already down, 9-0, in the eighth inning. He's only allowed 10 home runs in 219.2 minor-league innings, but has given up six in just 20.1 major-league frames -- something to keep an eye on.
Bednar pitched a scoreless inning in a 5-3 win over the Cubs on Thursday. He struck out two without allowing a hit or walk en route to his first hold. The righty appeared in the seventh inning to protect a 5-2 lead, ahead of Chris Stratton (eighth inning) and Rich Rodriguez (ninth inning) with Kyle Crick (personal) away from the team. Bednar's fine outing represents a carryover from his impressive spring and while he didn't close out Thursday's game, he's definitely got closer-worthy stuff.
Bednar has officially won a spot in the Pirates' Opening Day bullpen, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. Bednar has options remaining, so he could have been sent to the minors so the Pirates could keep other options in the organization. He forced the team's hand with a dominant spring, however, striking out 18 batters and walking just one in 8.2 scoreless innings. That's the kind of performance that could push him into a high-leverage role this season given the Pirates' lack of proven bullpen options, though he hasn't looked anything close to a high-leverage option in his 17.1 major-league innings thus far in his career, struggling to a 6.75 ERA.
Bednar has yet to allow an earned run in seven spring innings, yielding two hits and one walk while striking out 13. The 26-year-old, acquired in the Joe Musgrove trade, has seen a tick up in his fastball velocity and hit 99 mph in his last outing. He could move into a high-leverage situation if he continues to execute at his current level, but the team has several other relievers out of options. As a result, it's possible that Bednar could be optioned to Triple-A at the beginning of 2021, even though he's throwing as well as anyone in the bullpen.
Bednar was traded from the Padres to the Pirates on Monday as part of a three-team trade that sent Joe Musgrove to the Padres and Joey Lucchesi to the Mets, source reports. Bednar is part of a large package of players heading to Pittsburgh as part of the deal. The 26-year-old righty is arguably one of the less interesting pieces in the deal, as he owns a 6.75 ERA in 17.1 career innings at the highest level.
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