BRADENTON, Fla. -- Brad Lincoln, the Pirates' top pitching prospect, was unable to participate in the first workout of spring training today because of what management team described as irritation in his elbow.
Lincoln will engage in a throwing program before a further determination is made, general manager Dave Littlefield said.
"He developed it here throwing before spring training," Littlefield said. "He'll be no-throw for a little while until that calms down."
Lincoln, a 21-year-old right-handed starter who was the team's first-round draft pick last summer, had his first professional season cut short by a strained left oblique in August. He was 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in four starts for Class A Hickory.
The only other pitcher with an injury in camp is recently acquired minor-league starter Michael Tejera, out because of shoulder pain.
Littlefield also announced that Neil Walker, one of the Pirates' top hitting prospects, will convert from catcher to third base full-time. Walker, a Pine-Richland High School graduate and the first-round pick three years ago, took ground balls during the workout and never donned catching gear.
"He'll no longer be catching," Littlefield said. "We made the decision based on his athleticism and the fact that, as we look at our organization, Neil has a lot of potential with the bat, and we think this is a quicker way for him to get to Pittsburgh."
The Pirates are set at catcher with Ronny Paulino.
Three players -- pitchers Tony Armas Jr., Romulo Sanchez and Serguey Linares -- did not report for the workout because of difficulty securing U.S. work visas. Armas and Sanchez are in Venezula, Linares is in the Dominican Republic.
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.