West Virginia Black Bears alum SS Kevin Newman, RHP Edgar Santana and C Christian Kelley have all received invitations to attend Pittsburgh Pirates Major League spring training in Bradenton, FL next month. The three will compete for big league jobs as non-roster invitees.

Newman was a first round pick in the 2015 draft and began his career in 2015 by playing 23 games with the WV Black Bears while generating a .306 batting average. In just two seasons he has been promoted to the Double A Affiliate the Altoona Curve. He is currently ranked as one of the top five prospects for the Pirates going into 2017 season, according to Baseball America.

Santana became the first WV Black Bear to be promoted during the 2015 Inaugural Season. As a RHP for the club, he had a showing in just 14 games. Santana ended his time with the WV Black Bears with a 2.70 ERA.

Kelley, an 11th round pick in the 2015 draft, played in 56 of the WV Black Bears games during the 2015 Inaugural Season. Kelley was a member of the 2015 WV Black Bears championship team, as well as the 2016 Bradenton Marauders championship team.

Along with the three former WV Black Bears, the Pirates also sent invitations to seven other players that formally played for Pittsburgh’s short-season team in Jamestown, NY: Cody Dickson, Frank Duncan, Tyler Eppler, Jared Lakind, Jin De Jhang, Erich Weiss and Austin Meadows.

The WV Black Bears are set to open the 2017 season on June 19th. Season tickets are currently on sale by visiting www.westvirginiablackbears.com or by calling 304-293-7653.

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