Just a week ago Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington said top pitching prospect Brad Lincoln had “a ways to go” when it came to Lincoln being ready for a promotion.
The Pirates apparently have had a change of heart as Huntington said on his weekly radio show that Lincoln is a candidate to make his MLB debut Wednesday night against the Washington Nationals.
“Brad is definitely a candidate to make his Major League debut Wednesday night, Huntington said. The Pirates also have Wednesday’s starter listed as “TBA” furthering speculation that the Pirates 2006 1st round pick will get a well deserved promotion.
Word out of Pirates headquarters is that a decision at least internally on who will start Wednesday was believed to have been made Sunday evening after management spoke with manager John Russell following Sunday’s game.
Newly acquired pitcher Dana Eveland will make his Pirates debut Monday afternoon against the Chicago Cubs, and Jeff Karstens will take the mound Tuesday night against the Nationals.
Zach Duke was previously scheduled to pitch Wednesday night.
Many have been pushing for Lincoln to start against Stephen Strasburg but that is under no consideration. The call for the Pirates to start veteran Jeff Karstens was made by Pirates president Frank Coonelly who wants a “veteran presence” to go up against the Nationals pitching phenom.
“There was never a hesitation to run him out there against Strasburg,” Huntington said. “We’ve been aligning here for a little bit now. I’m sure if you were going to ask Brad, I’m sure he’d love nothing more than to go head to head with Stephen Strasburg on Tuesday night.
Lincoln who scouts believe will immediately become the Pirates best pitcher on their staff, has been dominant of late in Triple-A.
Lincoln pitched 6 shutout innings last Thursday night against Gwinnett, surrendering 4 hits, a walk and added 6 strikeouts.
With the win, Lincoln improved to 6-2 on the season and lowered his ERA to 3.16. In Lincoln’s (11IP 0R 5H 2BB 13K) last two starts, he has posted 11 shutout innings and 13 strikeouts.
When Lincoln is promoted to the majors, Jeff Karstens will be the odd-man out in the rotation as the Pirates are committed to Dana Eveland.
Pirates News and Notes
*The Pirates fell to 23-33 on the season, losing 6-5 in 10 innings Sunday afternoon against the San Francisco Giants.
*Trailing 5-3, Delwyn Young hit a pinch-hit two run homer in the bottom of the 9th with two outs and a full count.
*Freddy Sanchez went 2-for-4 with 2 runs scored and an RBI (10th inning). In his return to Pittsburgh, Sanchez was 7-for-13 with 4 runs scored and 2 RBI’s. Sanchez was the catalyst for the Giants at the top of their lineup who took 2-of-3 games.
The struggles of 1st baseman Jeff Clement came to the forefront in the Pirates 6-5 loss. Clement who is batting .197 on the year, was 0-for-5 in the game and 0-for-3 (5 runners stranded) at the plate with runners in scoring position.
The Clement experiment has been a complete failure and he has struggled mightily with runners in scoring position (2-for-32, .063 AVG)
*Second baseman Neil Walker made a spectacular catch in the first inning and continues to play well in the field. Walker (.333) also showed patience at the plate. Walker was 0-for-2 at the plate but reached base twice and scored two runs.
*Garrett Jones (8) hit a two run homer in the 4th inning off of Tim Lincecum for his 8th home run of the season and his 34th and 35th RBI.
*Statistically Ryan Doumit ranks among the worst defensive catchers in the game. The game plan from Giants manager Bruce Bouchy was to be aggressive on the base pads and the Giants stole 5 bases in the game.
Doumit’s play defensively has been horrendous this season. In 44 games started, Doumit has given up 42 stolen bases and has only thrown out 4 base runners. His average for throwing out runners is .087.