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Pirates' Skenes retires Orioles' Holliday in matchup of top picks

Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Pittsburgh Pirates starter Paul Skenes retired the Baltimore Orioles' Jackson Holliday on a grounder to second base Thursday in a spring training matchup of the top overall picks in the last two amateur drafts.

Skenes, a 6-foot-6 right-hander, was the first pick last year after going 13-2 with a 1.69 ERA and 209 strikeouts while leading LSU to the NCAA title. He agreed to a $9.2 million signing bonus and pitched in five games with Low-A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona.

“I think the biggest thing was just getting out there and pitching in front of people, because adrenaline is a big thing,” Skenes told reporters after the game in Sarasota Florida. “Just kind of wanted to see where we’re at.”

Holliday, the first pick in the 2022 draft, is regarded as baseball’s top prospect. The 20-year-old, a son of seven-time All-Star Matt Holliday, agreed to an $8.19 million signing bonus. He batted .323 with a .442 on-base percentage, 12 homers, 74 RBIs and 24 steals in 125 games for four minor league teams last season.

Skenes followed the first-inning matchup against Holliday by facing Adley Rutschman, the No. 1 overall pick in 2019. The AL All-Star flied out to the right-field warning track.

Skenes threw 10 pitches while retiring the side in order in his lone inning. His fastball reached 102 mph.

“Pretty satisfied,” Skenes said. “I’ve got some stuff to work on, but yeah, I’m ready to go. Feel good.”

Holliday went 2 for 4 with a triple and an RBI in the Orioles’ 9-8 victory.

AP Sports Writer Will Graves contributed to this report.



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