Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Karstens on DL, Lincoln Up

Hey, for once the Pirates took the mystery out of their moves. They just announced that Brad Lincoln has been recalled from Triple A Indianapolis and Jeff Karstens has been placed on 15 day DL with right shoulder inflammation.

Lincoln was 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA at Indy with 9 Ks in 12 IP and a .833 WHIP. So he didn't pout when he was one of the Pirates late cuts in the spring and worked his way back in a hurry. It also calms the immediate worries of a long man for today's game after the bullpen served up eight innings last night. This is Lincoln's scheduled day to pitch, so he'll be ready and able if J-Mac has a short outing.

This move temporarily solves the Bucco conundrum of what starter to stow in the bullpen when AJ Burnett returns. Lincoln will pick up JK's start on Tuesday and then is likely to work out of the pen, depending on Burnett's performance and return date, along with Karsten's recovery schedule.

Burnett is scheduled to throw a side session today and then start Saturday in a rehab outing with Altoona. His comeback work has been spotty, and Lincoln's presence allows the team to bring him back slowly if need be.

As for Karstens, we'll have to see. He's had durability issues before with four trips to the DL, and missed his last couple of 2011 starts with arm fatigue.  If Kevin Correia keeps on, this latest setback may end up with JK returning to his long man/spot starter role, although that decision is down the road and will be based on several moving parts.

He was 9-9 with a 3.38 ERA last season, his breakout year in the rotation, and is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three starts this year, although his abbreviated outing last night skews those figures.

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