Jeff Karstens took the mound today at Pirate City to throw two innings in a minor league game against the Philadelphia Triple-A squad. Karstens threw two shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out one. The only base runner reached on a lead off single, but was erased on a caught stealing two batters later.
“I thought it was going to be a long day after the first guy got a hit,” Karstens said. “I was like ‘shoot, let’s not start like this’.”
The right-hander had a quick outing today, only throwing 26 pitches in his two innings, with 15 strikes. After the outing he went to the bullpen to get some more work due to the quick innings during his start.
“It was probably for the best,” Karstens said of the quick outings. “We got some game action, and at the same time we were able to kind of work on some things mechanically that we feel will really help me and help my shoulder for the season. As long as we get those things in sync and going here pretty soon, I don’t see any issues arising any time soon.”
Karstens said afterwards that his shoulder feels good. He was throwing mostly fastballs today, but mixed in a few curveballs and threw 2-3 changeups. Against the second batter in the second inning, Karstens went with two straight curveballs for a quick 0-2 count, catching the batter looking both times. He later finished off the at-bat with a fastball for a swinging strikeout.
“It’s one of those things that I try to read the hitter,” Karstens said of the at-bat. “If they don’t really offer at the first one, I feel like I can take them right to 0-2 with another one.”
Karstens will now work on a regular schedule. He’ll throw a bullpen in a few days, and then extend his innings from here on out, advancing to three innings in his next outing, then four, and so on. He’s at two innings right now, while other pitchers are currently at 4-5 innings per start.
“If anything I’m maybe an outing or two behind, but with the [World Baseball Classic] it gave me a little time, so thank God for that,” Karstens said.