Share This Page

Pirates notebook: Karstens looks to return to rotation

| Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, 6:34 p.m.

To stabilize their starting rotation, the Pirates will bring back right-hander Jeff Karstens on a one-year contract.

The deal, which is pending completion of a physical, is worth about $2.5 million.

Karstens, 30, became a free agent after being non-tendered by the Pirates in November. He made $3.1 million last season and likely would've gotten about $4 million this year if he had gone through arbitration.

The Pirates were ready to give free-agent lefty Francisco Liriano a two-year, $12.75 million contract to fill Karstens' rotation spot, but the deal fell apart after Liriano injured his right arm in late December.

Karstens was in the rotation on Opening Day last season but made just 15 starts because of shoulder and hip injuries. In 19 outings, he went 5-4 with a 3.97 ERA and a 1.147 WHIP.

In 2011, Karstens made a career-high 26 starts. He went 9-9 with a 3.38 ERA. Before that, he was used mostly as a long reliever and spot starter.

The rotation this season will consist of veterans A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez, Karstens and James McDonald. The Pirates plan to have newcomers Jeff Locke and Kyle McPherson compete for the final spot during spring training.

Right-hander Charlie Morton, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, might be able to rejoin the team by midseason.

McCutchen opts out of playing in WBC

Center fielder Andrew McCutchen has decided not to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

McCutchen was invited to participate in the 16-team tournament, which will be March 2-19. The preliminary 28-man rosters will be revealed Thursday.

Pool D, consisting of the United States, Canada, Italy and Mexico, will play its opening round March 8-10 at Chase Field in Phoenix. Two teams from Pool D will advance to the second round, March 12-16 at Marlins Park in Miami.

Outfielders Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins), Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers), Shane Victorino (Boston Red Sox) and Adam Jones (Baltimore Orioles) have agreed to play for the U.S., which will be managed by Joe Torre.

Though McCutchen will remain in Pirates' spring training camp in Bradenton, Fla., at least two of his teammates — reliever Jason Grilli and catcher Russell Martin — will head to Phoenix for the WBC. Grilli will play for Italy, and Martin will play for Canada.

Right-hander Chris Leroux also is expected to accept an invitation from Canada after being told he could be used as a starter. Leroux has been penciled into the Pirates' bullpen plans but would prefer a starter's role.

Outfielder Starling Marte has been asked to play for the Dominican Republic. Neither Marte nor the Pirates have indicated whether he will accept the bid.

The Dominican Republic team also was interested in having Pedro Alvarez on its roster, but he is expected to decline and stay in camp with the Pirates.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.