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The Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation improved their overall record and ERA during the 2011 season when they put up a 49-61 record and a 4.21 ERA, improving from a 34-84 record with a 5.28 ERA in 2010.

Over the offseason, the club upgraded their starting staff by signing lefty Erik Bedard to a one-year deal in December. They also acquired right-hander A.J. Burnett from the New York Yankees in February for a pair of minor league prospects. Burnett will start the season on the DL, but the Pirates rotation looks to be stronger for 2012.

"I think our starting pitchers understand better the exact nature of their role," Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said. "It’s not that you get the ball every fifth day. There’s a lot more to it than that. It’s just as ...

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