The Pirates starting rotation shaped up to be a battle for one spot, but Jeff Karstens started having shoulder problems. Karstens appears likely on his way to a spot on the disabled list to start the season, which opened up another place in the rotation.
A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez and James McDonald have all been penciled in in the top three spots for a while now, and word came in the middle of the week that Jonathan Sanchez would be Pittsburgh's No. 4 with Jeff Locke in as the fifth starter. With Francisco Liriano, Charlie Morton and Karstens available to step in after missing the start of the season with injuries, depth does not appear to be problem.
Burnett is scheduled to be the Opening Day starter for the Pirates coming off a pretty good first season in Pittsburgh . His 3.51 ERA was his lowest since 2007 when he was with Toronto, and he had his first 200-inning season since 2009.
He's 36, so a return to his production during his time wit...
Tom Bragg is a beat writer and analyst for PiratesProspects.com. He is the former sports editor of the (Fairmont) Times West Virginian and has worked at the Charleston Gazette, Charleston Daily Mail and the (Ashland, Ky.) Independent. His freelance work has appeared in newspapers all over West Virginia and he has written for The Associated Press with stories posted to several major media outlets (ESPN.com, SportsIllustrated.com, FoxSports.com). Tom graduated from Marshall University in May 2010 with a degree in Print Journalism. Follow Tom on Twitter: @TomBraggSports