Free agent Jeff Karstens has been a visitor to Pittsburgh Pirates camp. The right hander has been seen talking to former teammates and throwing on the side. Karstens lives in nearby Tampa and some whispered that Karstens might get another shot with the Buccos.
The Pirates didn’t initially sign Karstens last season and it left many wondering why. When we pressed for more answers we were told ‘if you could see what we know about him from the medicals, you would understand why we didn’t sign him.” Over a month later, the Pirates did sign him and we were confused. Sure enough, Karstens didn’t remain healthy and is now recovering from arthroscopic surgery that occurred in June. The operation cleaned up his right rotator cuff and labrum.
Karstens is said to be pain-free and is working on his throwing programs. We had thought that he would be working out for teams last month, but now as February nears a close, he is still without a team.
Today, Neal Huntington was asked by Dan Zangrilli on Bucco Talk on 93.7 The Fan about a possibility minor league deal for Karstens. The Bucs GM pulled no punches and squelched a possible return. Huntington stated that the right opportunity for Karstens doesn’t exist with the Bucs big league club or even when he forecasts the 2014 AAA rotation at Indianapolis.
"A healthy Jeff Karstens is better than some of our guys. I just don’t know if we are going to have a very good opportunity for a guy like that."
Wherever Karstens lands, we will be cheering for him. The gutsy performances Karstens provided the Pirates over the years were some of the best times we could have had especially considering the circumstances and the teams who played behind him.
The full interview is here. http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2014/02/22/huntington-great-competition-for-rotation-spots/