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Pirates notebook: Spot starts could still be in Lincoln's future

| Monday, June 25, 2012, 7:28 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Pirates pitcher Brad Lincoln delivers during the third inning against Washington Wednesday May 9, 2012 at PNC Park. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Starting pitcher Brad Lincoln was traded from the Pirates to the Toronto Blues on Monday, July 31, 2012. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)

PHILADELPHIA – Brad Lincoln is back in the Pirates' bullpen, but manager Clint Hurdle said he'll “definitely” be considered the next time they need a spot start.

“It's not an easy transition, and a lot of guys can't do it,” Hurdle said. “A lot of guys you end up making a decision, sending them back to the bullpen and close the door on it. But that's why we wanted to continue to show the patience, and to give him another opportunity (on Saturday) to extend that invitation. We feel that's still a fit for him.”

Lincoln gave up 13 earned runs in 11 23 innings and was 0-2 in his first three of four spot starts before earning the win over the Detroit Tigers Saturday at PNC Park.

Hurdle said the right-hander's experience working through the tough starts — figuring out where he got into trouble and how he got out of it — was important.

“I just think it all plays out better when you can work through some adversity and have some success on the other side,” Hurdle said. “It's reassuring that you know what, you can do this.”

Lincoln said he would like to be considered as a full-time starter again at some point, but not at the expense of what's best for the team.

“I want to be part of this team and part of something great that runs through Pittsburgh,” he said.

“If that requires me to be in the 'pen and rotation, back and forth, so be it.”

• Lincoln won't be available for relief duty until Wednesday.

• Reliever Jared Hughes threw in the field and the bullpen Monday and was deemed ready for the series opener against the Phillies. Neither Hughes nor Hurdle would disclose the physical issue Hughes was dealing with that made him unavailable for Sunday's game, and that didn't change yesterday. “I'm good, I feel good,” Hughes said. “It was physical, and now it's better.”

• New infielder Drew Sutton, reacquired on waivers on Sunday, will join the team today in Philadelphia. He was given a couple days to go home and visit his pregnant wife, whom he hadn't seen in two months, Hurdle said.

• To make room for pitcher Jeff Karstens on the 25-man roster, the Pirates optioned pitcher Bryan Morris to Triple-A Indianapolis.

— Karen Price

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