Just a few months ago, Joe Musgrove was celebrating a World Series championship with the Houston Astros.
Then the offseason brought a change as Musgrove was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a five-player trade that involved right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole heading to Houston.
But Musgrove’s arrival in Pittsburgh, which officially got started Monday when pitchers and catchers reported to spring training at Pirate City, also brought a reunion with Steven Brault.
The two played high school baseball together at Grossmont High in El Cajon, Calif.
“Our high school was always a really big powerhouse in baseball,” Musgrove said. “I think we were four-time (California Interscholastic Federation) champs consecutive.”
The only pitcher or catcher not to report during the day Monday was Elias Diaz, whose 72-year-old mother, Ana Soto, was rescued in Venezuela three days after being kidnapped.
Soto was kidnapped in San Francisco, in the state of Zulia, on Thursday. Six people were detained in connection with the kidnapping, according to Venezuelan media reports.
“The Pittsburgh Pirates are relieved and overjoyed to learn that Elias Diaz’s mother, Ana Soto, has been rescued and safely reunited with her family,” Pirates president Frank Coonelly said. “We are incredibly grateful for the swift and effective work of the local law enforcement officials in Venezuela who brought this terrifying act to the safe conclusion for which we had all prayed.
“As an organization, we will continue to support Elias and his family as they move forward together.”
Meanwhile, Monday served as the check-in day for pitchers and catchers. Wednesday is the first day for workouts — it will run from 9 a.m. until around noon at Pirate City.
Musgrove enters an organization that also traded franchise outfielder Andrew McCutchen in January. It’s not unfamiliar to what he witnessed while part of the Astros organization.
The guys have all made it very clear that they want to talk to me and pick my brain and kind of see the things that I learned and what can I bring over to help this team out. So I’m really excited to share what I know.
New Pirates pitcher Joe Musgrove, who won a World Series title with the Astros in 2017
“When I came over to the Astros in ’12, we were the worst team in baseball, (107) loss team,” Musgrove said. “You saw the transformation over years of our record getting a little better. The structure of the way the organization was ran, the talent that was coming in, everything progressed over years. Four years later, five years later, we’re in the World Series and we ended up winning.”
Musgrove said the situation in Pittsburgh is familiar to what he came from in Houston and he’s excited to be part of a young group of players with the Pirates.
Part of that group is 25-year-old pitcher Trevor Williams, who made 25 starts last year and spent the offseason preparing his body for a full season.
“Last offseason, I came in not knowing what my role was going to be,” Williams said. “So I really put in a conscious effort to get my body ready for 30-plus starts.”
And now Pittsburgh has a player in Musgrove in the locker room who tasted the championship glory that many Pirates fans and players have dreamed of for decades.
“It’s a different ballgame in the postseason. I had to learn really quick and kind of learn on the run,” Musgrove said. “... The guys have all made it very clear that they want to talk to me and pick my brain and kind of see the things that I learned and what can I bring over to help this team out. So I’m really excited to share what I know.”