Although it wasn’t much of a secret entering spring training, the top of the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation is set to begin the 2013 campaign.
According to the Post-Gazette’s Bill Brink, Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle has tabbed A.J. Burnett as the Opening Day starter April 1 at PNC Park against the Chicago Cubs.
Burnett will start opening day, Hurdle said. Rodriguez next. Not set after that.
— Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) February 20, 2013
Hurdle also said that Wandy Rodriguez would follow Burnett in the rotation, again not much of a surprise there.
Beyond Burnett and Rodriguez in the top two spots, the rest of the rotation is not yet set.
In his first season in a Pirates’ uniform, Burnett was outstanding posting a 16-10 record and a 3.51 ERA.
Rodriguez was acquired prior to July’s trade deadline from the Houston Astros and went 5-4 with a 3.72 ERA. Although Rodriguez struggled once being acquired, he finished the season very strong and the Bucs should feel confident about their top two starters.
After that it is all a guess on how things will play out.
The final three spots in the rotation will be filled by the likes of James McDonald, Jeff Karstens, Jonathan Sanchez, Jeff Locke and Kyle McPherson.
Things will get even more jumbled in May when Francisco Liriano should be ready and in July when Charlie Morton is due back.