Cole looking to avoid sophomore slump for Pirates - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Cole looking to avoid sophomore slump for Pirates

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BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) - A.J. Burnett may be gone to Philadelphia, but the Pittsburgh Pirates believe they have their next ace in Gerrit Cole.

The former No. 1 pick was spectacular at times during his rookie season in 2013, winning 10 games and getting better as the year wore on. The 23-year-old struck out 100 in 117 innings and went 6-2 over his final eight starts.

Cole pitched so well the Pirates opted to start him over Burnett in Game 5 of the NL division series against St. Louis. Pittsburgh loss but Cole hung tough in defeat.

Manager Clint Hurdle called Cole "special" and credited Cole's competitiveness for making him so effective at such a young age.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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