Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Paul Skenes just joined the big leagues, but he is already thinking about his retirement. The Pirates hurler is expected to serve his country after he finishes baseball, per the USA Today. Skenes served as an Air Force cadet before he started playing Major League Baseball.

“He will serve his country in some manner moving forward. It's just going to be a matter of when. Paul and I have spoken about that piece,” Air Force baseball coach Mike Kazlausky said, per USA Today. “We'll get him back in the military once his professional playing days are over. It’s a big deal for Paul to be able to serve our country.”

Skenes also played his college baseball at LSU, following his time in the Air Force.

Skenes and the Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Paul Skenes (30) delivers a pitch in his major league debut against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at PNC Park
© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Retirement may be a long way off for the hurler, as Skenes is turning heads in the MLB. In just two appearances, he has already made his mark for the Buccos. Skenes struck out seven straight Chicago Cubs batters in his second MLB appearance. He picked up his first career win, by fanning 11 batters total in that game. It was a dominant performance for the young ace, who has 18 total strikeouts in just two games. He also has a terrific WHIP, at .90.

Skenes is a former no. 1 overall 2023 MLB Draft pick for Pittsburgh. He played well in college for Air Force and LSU. With the Tigers, Skenes recorded 13 wins to just 2 losses in 19 total games. He had a dazzling 1.69 ERA in the SEC, while working more than 122 innings for the Tigers.

At Air Force, Skenes also pitched brilliantly despite his military duties. Skenes finished the 2022 season with 10 wins, and a 2.73 ERA in 15 starts. He also pitched for the Falcons during the 2021 campaign.

Skenes' love for military service

Skenes chose to attend Air Force after high school, despite offers from several other high-profile college baseball programs. He had family in the military, and wanted to be a pilot. Skenes had to leave the Air Force following his second year, or would have been forced to delay his baseball career for military duty. It was the reason for his transfer to LSU.

“It’s amazing how his life would have been a lot different and our exposure to him in the big leagues would have been a lot different,” Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said, per the USA Today.

While Skenes didn't serve his country longer at that particular time, it appears that he hasn't forgotten about his roots. Skenes' story is a reminder that you can find great talent at the unlikeliest of places. His career is also proving to be an inspiration to others.

“Most of these guys want to serve their country or they wouldn’t have gone there in the first place,” former St. Louis Cardinals reliever Mitch Harris said, per USA Today. “They want to represent our academies. They want to represent the Armed Forces. But if an opportunity comes to play pro sports, too, why can’t we figure something out where both can be possible.” Harris served in the Naval Academy.

The Pirates are in action Sunday against the Cubs once again, with the first pitch at 2:20 Eastern.