Karstens makes it official: 'This is only place I wanted to be'
Jeff Karstens did not take long to decide when the Pirates offered to bring him back for the 2013 season.
“This is the only place I wanted to be,” Karstens said Thursday after signing a one-year, $2.5 million contract. “It was just a matter of finding the right opportunity.”
Since arriving in a midseason trade in 2008, the right-handed pitcher has gone 23-35 with a 4.31 ERA in 123 games (82 starts). Last year, he began the season in the starting rotation but was limited to 15 starts by shoulder inflammation and a hip pointer. He spent two months on the disabled list and ended the season by making four appearances out of the bullpen.
Karstens will go to spring training seeking to lock down a spot in the middle of the rotation. That job was supposed to go to lefty Francisco Liriano, but his free-agent deal fell through after he injured his right arm in late December.
“I'll go into camp ready to compete for whatever role they want,” Karstens said. “For me, it's not a sense of entitlement. It's about earning what you get.”
The Pirates non-tendered Karstens in November, making him a free agent. He made $3.1 million last season.
“I don't have any hard feelings,” Karstens said. “I know it's all a business.”
Karstens will spend the next couple of weeks training at Performance Compound in Tampa, Fla., before reporting to spring training camp. The Pirates' first workout for pitchers and catchers is Feb. 12.
Minor league deals
The Pirates signed first baseman/outfielder Brad Hawpe and catcher Lucas May to minor league contracts.
Both newcomers, along with minor league pitchers Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon, received non-roster invites to spring training.
Hawpe, 32, last played in the majors in 2011, when he hit .231 in 62 games with the Padres. Last year, he batted .260 in 35 games for the Rangers' Double-A affiliate before being released at the end of May.
In 2007, Hawpe hit .291 with 29 homers for the Rockies and received a handful of MVP votes. Two years later, he was a National League All-Star and batted .285 with 23 home runs.
The 28-year-old May played in 12 games for the Royals in 2010. He spent all of last season with the Mets' Triple-A club and hit .215 in 75 games.
Cole and Taillon are former first-round draft picks. Cole, 22, pitched last summer at High-A, Double-A and Triple-A. Combined, he went 9-7 with a 2.80 ERA and 1.197 WHIP. Taillon, 21, went a combined 9-8 with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.198 WHIP at High-A and Double-A.
General manager Neal Huntington already has indicated Cole will begin this season at Triple-A Indianapolis. If Cole shows continued progress, however, it would not be surprising to see the right-hander in the majors later this summer.
Taillon is expected to begin the season at Double-A Altoona.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Former Pirates pitcher Happ agrees to $36 million, 3-year deal with Blue Jays
- Pirates sign free agent 1B-OF Goebbert, RHP Webster
- Pirates protect top prospects in advance of Rule 5 draft
- Pirates, Orioles had trade talks involving 2B Walker
- Pirates sign independent league pitcher
- Pirates miss out on bid for Korean slugger Park
- Pirates, Happ interested in coming to terms on deal