Jeff Karstens was originally scheduled to make a start today against the Baltimore Orioles. Instead he was scratched and will be replaced by Chris Leroux. Prior to this, Karstens had yet to throw more than two innings in a start, and the season is a week away.
The reaction that I’ve seen so far is that this will open up the competition for the final two rotation spots. Most had Karstens getting one of the two final spots, with several pitchers battling it out for the fifth spot in the rotation. In my roster prediction the other day, I pointed out that Karstens didn’t look ready to begin the season in the rotation. I had Jonathan Sanchez and Jeff Locke making the team with the final two rotation spots.
I think the injury to Karstens will make it more likely that Sanchez makes the team as a starter. The alternatives are Jeff Locke, Kyle McPherson, and Jeanmar Gomez for two spots. Sanchez isn’t a guarantee to return to his 2009-2011 form, but if he does he would be more valuable than any of the other options at this point.
Since I had Karstens in the bullpen, I think this injury could open up a spot in the pen. I had Gomez getting cut, unless Tony Watson didn’t make the team. After Watson’s 1-2-3 inning yesterday, I don’t think he’s at risk of being left off the roster. So I could see Gomez making the team if Karstens has to start the season on the disabled list. At any rate, it doesn’t seem possible now for Karstens to make the team as a starter.