Tecumseh grad Brubaker will start Opening Day for Pirates

Pittsburgh opens season in St. Louis on Thursday

The Pittsburgh Pirates named JT Brubaker, a 2012 Tecumseh High School graduate entering his third season in the big leagues, their Opening Day starter on Sunday.

Brubaker, 26, will get the ball in a 4:15 p.m. start Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Pirates manager Derek Shelton made the announcement during an interview on TV during a spring training game.

“Bru’s had a good spring,” Shelton said. “It lines up with where he’s at just in terms of the rotation. I think with our group we’ve got a lot of guys who can attack guys in different ways.”

Brubaker has made one start and appeared in two other games this spring. He has a 4.50 ERA in eight innings.

Explore» LOOKING BACK: A 2018 story on Brubaker's rise in minors

Last season, Brubaker was 5-13 with a 5.36 ERA in 24 starts. He did not pitch in September because of a right-shoulder injury. He told reporters Sunday he found out about the Opening Day start Sunday.

““I was like, ‘Yeah, give me the ball, let’s go,’” Brubaker told reporters. “It was kind of a speechless moment, really. I didn’t know how to react. I wanted to jump through the ceiling, but at the same time, it’s like, ‘All right, make sure you know what you’re doing. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself.’ I was kind of speechless and in awe in that moment.”

Brubaker will make his first start of the 2022 season at the same stadium where he made his big-league debut in 2020. That start came in an empty stadium during the 60-game pandemic-shortened season. Brubaker was 1-3 with a 4.94 ERA in 11 starts that season.

Brubaker, a sixth-round pick in the 2015 draft who pitched three seasons for the Akron Zips after graduating from Tecumseh, spent five seasons in the minor leagues before reaching the Pirates.

“When you go out and you actually have a clear sight of what you’re wanting to work on in the offseason, or even in Spring Training, the hard work pays off when a moment like this comes,” Brubaker said.

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