Prior to the Pirates final spring training game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin during Grapefruit League action in Florida, the club optioned right-handers Brad Lincoln and Daniel McCutchen to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Lincoln, 26, made one start (four appearances) this spring. He allowed 10 runs on 12 hits over 8.0 innings with five walks, five strikeouts and three home runs allowed.
After his final Grapefruit League appearance, where he allowed three runs on two hits over 2.0 innings on Friday, Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said he was under consideration as the long man in the bullpen.
“He’s not going to be a starter, so that’s the only opportunity for him to make the club,”Hurdle said after the game.
Lincoln was aware of his role if he were to make camp in the bullpen, and said recently he was fine with whatever decision they were to make.
“What happens, happens. I’m fine with that,” Lincoln said. “If I have to go back to the minor leagues, I’m fine with that. I’m working my hardest to break camp with this team.”
The 26-year-old righty will be in the Indianapolis rotation to start the 2012 season. Lincoln went 7-8 with a 4.19 ERA over 12 games (eight starts) with Triple-A during the 2011 season.
McCutchen, 29, had a great start to the spring, allowing just one earned run over his first five appearances (4.2 innings). But the right-hander has struggled over the final stretch. McCutchen allowed 11 runs over his final four outings, pushing his spring ERA to 9.82 over 11.0 innings overall.
The right-hander will pitch out of the Indy bullpen, but will be stretched out for long relief. He posted a 3.72 ERA over 73 games (84.2 innings) with Pittsburgh during the 2011 season. His 84.2 innings ranked fourth most among National League relief pitchers.
The Pirates currently have 28 players remaining in big league camp.