Breaking News: In the Grapefruit League opener, the Twins defeat the Pirates despite the great mans excellent start at catcher.

Fort Myers, Florida: Manager Derek Shelton wasted no time in evaluating Henry Davis, who was a contender to start at catcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Opening Day.

The 2021 No. 1 overall draft pick made a strong first impression against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday in the Grapefruit League opener, starting at his natural position after playing right field as a rookie.

Shelton stated, “He’s in competition to make our club,” adding that Yasmani Grandal, a seasoned catcher, would not be making the ninety-minute drive from Bradenton. “To be honest, it was crucial to get Davis outside and take a little of the edge off.”

Davis also tossed the ball around a little. At Hammond Field at Lee Health Sports Complex, he caught four pitches in the first five innings of a 5-3 loss to the Twins, going 2 for 3 with a run scored. Above all, Davis is trying to distance himself from Ali Sanchez and Jason Delay in an effort to compete with Grandal for the other catcher position. Getting to know left-hander Bailey Falter, who was awarded the opening start of spring training, was the first step in that process.

“My goal was to align myself and take the necessary steps to put myself in the best possible position to succeed as quickly as possible,” Davis stated. “I try to do that on every outing and every bullpen.”

Over the course of two innings, Falter struck out three and gave up two runs on four hits while throwing strikes on 24 of 33 pitches. On a glove-side pitch in the dirt, he was also charged with a wild pitch.

Falter remarked, “I felt like we worked really well together.” He received some excellent pitches. The important thing is to get your feet wet and work on some things right now. I believe we may have been a bit too four-seam happy and could have added a few two-seams.

Falter gave up consecutive singles to Edouard Julien and Willi Castro in the second inning after striking out three of the first five players he faced. Alex Kirilloff, a former Plum teammate, fielded Julien’s choice to give the Twins a 1-0 lead. Austin Martin then singled to left to score Castro.

In the second inning, Davis launched a two-out rally for the Pirates by hitting Justin Topa’s sinker for a single that was timed at an exit velocity of 103.8 mph. Canaan Smith-Njigba singled to left, moving Davis to second. Edward Olivares tied the game with a two-run triple to right-center off Topa, a full-count sinker.

Smith-Njigba remarked, “It all starts with Henry, swinging 3-0 with confidence and hitting the ball hard.” Few people put in as much work as Henry does. Henry clearly sees his future and is excited about it. He plays hard when he’s outside. He consistently puts out effort. He really is a bad man, and we are here to assist him become the best that he can be. He is genuinely motivated to succeed. He seems like someone who could win baseball games for the Pirates.

Pitching to Davis in High-A Greensboro and Double-A Altoona, Pirates top-10 prospect Jared Jones saw a change in Davis behind the plate after he threw the third inning.

Jones remarked, “I’ve always loved throwing to him.” “He’s improved significantly. That’s good to see. maintaining the low tones. He kind of let them drop to the floor early in his career. He’s sticking with it now and is getting calls.

“I thought he did really well, mixed pitches really well,” Falter said. “He’s a really good game planner, for sure, and he takes everything very seriously. He’s in a really good spot right now. The guy is a monster. He’s here for a reason.”

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