Pirates to sign Karstens

Jared Wickerham

Jeff Karstens will return to Pittsburgh for 2013.

The Pittsburgh Pirates and free-agent pitcher Jeff Karstens have agreed to a one-year contract, pending a physical, reports Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The deal is believed to be worth in the neighborhood of $2.5 million.

Karstens, 30, pitched for the Pirates last season and recorded a 5-4 record with a 3.97 ERA in 90 ⅔ innings. The club decided to non-tender him earlier in the offseason instead of going to arbitration. While on the market, Karstens drew interest from the Colorado Rockies but decided to return to Pittsburgh.

For his career, Karstens is 26-40 with a 4.44 ERA in seven seasons spent with the New York Yankees and Pirates. His best season was 2011, when he went 9-9 with a 3.38 ERA. He seemed to be on track for another good season last year, but missed time with shoulder, groin and hip injuries.

Karstens will join A.J. Burnett, James McDonald and Wandy Rodriguez in the Bucs starting rotation. The Pirates also still have interest in signing Francisco Liriano, even after injuring his non-throwing arm.

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