More Bucs: Pirates Want More Catching Depth
Karstens was scratched from his scheduled start yesterday after he told the Pirates that his shoulder was once again bothering him. It's an injury that the right-hander has been battling since the middle of February. He had resumed throwing batting practice and made two minor league starts before once again being shut down.
Pittsburgh was poised to use Karstens as its No. 4 starter, but general manager Neal Huntington told reporters that instead the injury is "most likely" to cause him to begin the year on the DL.
The Pirates had four candidates fighting for the final spot in the rotation. Now, Jeff Locke, Jonathan Sanchez, Kyle McPherson and Jeanmar Gomez will be competing for two spots. Pittsburgh could also look outside the organization to fill the void created by Karstens' setback, though Huntington said he doesn't feel a sense of urgency to do so.
Karstens was non-tendered and eventually re-signed to an incentive-laden $2 million contract this offseason. The 30-year-old maintained an ERA of 3.97 over 19 appearances -- including 15 starts -- for the Pirates last year.