The Pittsburgh Pirates have had a solid stretch of success with their starting pitching. Ross Ohlendorf hasn’t been a part of it. News today came out on Ohlendorf and it doesn’t look inspiring for those counting on an Ohlendorf return to the rotation in the near future.
Many saw the details on Ohlendorf throwing batting practice and long toss in the outfield. If you were like me, you might have been thinking a couple rehab starts in the minors were forthcoming. That isn’t the case as we learned today.
Jennifer Langosch wrote the following on her twitter account:
Ross Ohlendorf threw live BP but doesn’t have arm strength to make rehab start yet; next step TBD
The question now becomes how will this impact the Pirates rotation? Jeff Karstens has been Jeff Karstens. In his career, Karstens has typically pitched as if his next start could certainly be his last. But this season he has shown improvement. Karstens next start will certainly be interesting and if he returns to his form most of this speculation is wasted. But let’s say Karstens struggles again, just how long will his leash be under skipper Clint Hurdle?
Daniel McCutchen has also been better in 2011. The Great White Cutch is currently the long man with 12 scoreless innings pitched. Would McCutchen move to the rotation? We doubt that.
Michael Crotta has been struggling lately, with little help from the umpires in some outings. Could Crotta use some more seasoning in AAA and would his opening allow Karstens to work in the bullpen once again?
Throw in Daniel Moskos, and the situation becomes even more interesting.
But the big question is – who would take a rotation spot should either Karstens struggle once again in his next start, or worse yet, should an injury occur to a Pirates starter? We feel most eyes turn to Brad Lincoln.
Lincoln has struckout 24 batters at AAA Indianapolis in 26.1 innings. He has walked three and allowed 28 hits and 19 earned runs. We have heard that Lincoln is working on a few things, mainly the change, and perhaps that is why his numbers aren’t exactly awe inspiring.
We just have two questions. Does he have full command and confidence in his changeup to make 2011 the season he sticks in the majors? Can he throw the curve for strikes? If not, is he getting closer to having both of them and will he be able to bring it along at the major league level?
Lincoln has a birthday coming up this month. It certainly does feel like it’s about time we find out if the Pirates 2006 number one pick, fourth overall, has it figured out.
Because if Lincoln isn’t ready, which I gather from the speaking from cocktailsfor2 who saw him recently, we aren’t exactly enamored with the alternatives. So we guess we are saying pray for Jeff Karstens. Hard.
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