Lincoln gets another shot to stay in rotation
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Brad Lincoln will start Saturday against the Detroit Tigers, manager Clint Hurdle said, allowing Lincoln another chance to prove he can perform effectively in the role.
Hurdle said Tuesday the Pirates were discussing their options for the weekend rotation. Lincoln is 0-2 in his past three starts in which he allowed 13 runs and 23 hits in 112/3 innings for a 10.03 ERA.
"It's been a work in progress," Hurdle said Wednesday. "The results haven't necessarily been what we have wanted, but I think we need to give this young man a chance to channel through the transition period."
Hurdle said the value of starting pitchers in today's baseball landscape necessitated an extended look at Lincoln despite his recent performance.
"He has put in the work and the effort and the preparation," Hurdle said. "I think we have continued to show patience in a lot of different areas, and this is just another one that we will show a little more patience to."
The 27-year-old right-hander, a first-round draft pick in 2006, has pitched more effectively in the starting role before. In '11, he went 2-3 with a 4.29 ERA in eight starts, striking out 24 and walking 14 in 42 innings.
"I do think it's him nailing down a mentality and a commitment in which he goes about his opportunity to start," Hurdle said. "To make the pitches he needs to make, with the focus he needs to have, to start innings as well as to finish them."
Jeff Karstens will throw a bullpen session today if he feels up to it, and then is scheduled to start Sunday for Class AAA Indianapolis. The Pirates might push Karstens' start back a day if he needs extra rest.
Karstens pitched seven innings of one-run ball Tuesday for Class AA Altoona, allowing six hits, walking one and striking out five. He threw 59 of his 78 pitches for strikes.
Karstens was on the 15-day disabled list because of shoulder inflammation. He felt pain in his hip flexor while making a rehab start June 7 against Pawtucket, the Class AAA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, which slowed his rehab.
"I felt like I didn't lose a beat from when I was pitching in Pawtucket," Karstens said of his most recent outing. "I felt like I had really good stuff. I was able to make pitches."
If Karstens experiences no setbacks Sunday, he could return to the Pirates June 29 when the team starts a road trip in St. Louis. He has not pitched in the majors since April 17, when he left his start after one inning because of shoulder pain.
The Pirates received word that they cannot continue to have Bill Mazeroski and Bill Virdon on the bench during games. The Pirates invited them to spend time with the team during the series against the Minnesota Twins and had them on the bench for Tuesday's game.
The Pirates have stolen 15 bases in the past 10 games and their 20 steals in June led the major leagues before Wednesday's games.
First Published June 21, 2012 12:00 am