Pirates Exploring How Karstens Fits in the Picture

After battling through several injuries this season — a right shoulder injury that sidelined him for nearly two months and a hip flexor injury twice — when Jeff Karstens finally got back healthy, his role with the club was moved into the bullpen. And that’s where the right-hander will finish the season as Manager Clint Hurdle’s final rotation to end the season had his name left out of it.

Karstens will be arbitration eligible for the third time this off-season. The Pirates and Karstens avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $3.1 M salary for the 2012 season. But heading into the off-season, Karstens’ health concerns are being evaluated by the organization. The slim 6′ 3″, 185 pound right-hander finished last season by tossing a career-high 162.1 innings.

“There’s been a lot of tall and lean pitchers that have thrown 250-plus innings over the course of history,” General Manager Neal Huntington said. “A lot of it’s genetics. [Pitching coach] Ray [Searage] does a great job of managing workloads. Clint does a great job of managing workloads. It’s hard to pain them with that broad of a brush to say, well, they’re tall and skinny so they’re injury prone where they’re not going to be able to carry down innings. There have been some guys that have been tall and skinny that have carried a lot of innings and stayed healthy. Most importantly, it’s about attacking each pitcher individually and how do we maximize what they bring to the table.”

“Jeff is a guy that gives you everything he has every time he takes the baseball. You love the mentality that Karstens brings. He’s a leader. He’s doing everything he can to get the most out of his abilities. Unfortunately at times, his body lets him down and it’s been various body parts. As of what we have to do with every player in the organization, we’ve got to do a thorough analysis and explore the fit on the team going forward, explore the role and how he fits in the big picture. Right now, it’s a bit early to talk about that publicly.”

Author: Kristy Robinson

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