Pitt running back James Conner will open the 2016 MLB season by throwing out the first pitch of Sunday’s Opening Day matchup between the Pirates and Cardinals, the university announced.
“I’m honored and thrilled to throw out the first pitch for the Pirates’ season opener and I want to thank everyone in the organization for this incredible invitation,” Conner said. “It has been a long time since I played baseball but I’ll make sure my arm is ready to throw a strike on Sunday. The Bucs’ road to the World Series begins this weekend and I can’t wait to be at PNC Park.”
Conner was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in November, but remains hopeful he can play for the Panthers in 2016.
Conner was named the 2014 ACC Player of the Year, accumulating 1,765 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns that season. The running back rushed for 77 yards and two touchdowns in the team’s 2015 season opener, but an MCL injury forced him to miss the rest of the season.
Conner has participated in the Panthers’ spring practices this month, despite his diagnosis.
The Cardinals-Pirates game is scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m. ET on Sunday.