Candidates lined up for Morton’s slot

Charlie Morton’s placement on the disabled list, with elbow inflammation, leaves a hole in the Pirates rotation. Suddenly, there are two choices to step in for Morton on Tuesday in Cincinnati.

Brad Lincoln is one. As a spot starter, he has already been spot-on: He went six innings in a 3-2 win at Miami on May 14.

But also in the picture is Jeff Karstens, who is making another  rehab start tonight for Indianapolis. His next throw day wouldn’t be until Wednesday. But the Pirates’ bye yesterday would allow Clint Hurdle to juggle his rotation, going to A.J. Burnett for the opener of the Reds series.

Following his short (four innings) start on Wednesday in PNC Park against the Reds, Morton was specifically asked how he felt physically, and he said, “Fine.”

However, Hurdle and pitching coach Ray Searage noticed the lack of the usual movement on his pitches. Pitchers who do feel some discomfort aren’t too eager about owning up to it; job security and all that.

And, in retrospect, Charlie might have answered the health question in the affirmative, but he certainly wasn’t too convincing at it. 

Now that he’s been shut down for a spell, hopefully he’ll get better. Maybe, he’ll get best. He’s a good competitor; the Bucs need him.


I appreciate Morton’s “injury.” That being said, the rest could perhaps help – he has been off his game for the last several starts. Let’s hope that Lincoln can hold his own in Cincy. Although I have always been a strong supporter of Jeff Karstens, his rehab numbers haven’t been overwhelming. Nonetheless, surplus pitching help is a luxury that has been scarce on the Bucco’s roster for the last few years, so in this instance, it’s a nice problem to have!

Until if & when Morton gets back to peak form Karstens is the one.
Next should be Owens, then Locke.
Bedard looks to be next for a DL stint. Then probably Correia.
After his Spot start keep Lincoln in the Pen where he has been terrific.
If we need a lefty in the Pen give Wilson a shot. He looks like the LH version of Lincoln— better in relief than as a starter.

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