Oct. 1, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Jeff Karstens (27) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates: Jeff Karstens likely to begin the season on DL

It wouldn’t be a baseball season without some kind of injury to Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jeff Karstens, but as the Bucs prepare for Opening Day is exactly a week, Karstens looks to be in midseason form.

Karstens, who hasn’t thrown in a major league game yet this spring, was scratched from Sunday’s scheduled start because of “continuing shoulder discomfort.”

August 7, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jeff Karstens (27) throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pirates’ general manger Neal Huntington confirmed during his radio show Sunday afternoon that Karstens likely would be heading to the disabled list to begin the season.

Karstens first experienced what he described as soreness in his right shoulder Feb. 19, a little more than one week after pitchers and catchers first reported for spring training. The team later described the injury as right biceps tendinitis. He started throwing batting practice earlier this month and made two starts in minor league games at Pirate City, most recently throwing 50 pitches Monday.

If Karstens didn’t experience any setbacks, he would have been on target to start April 7, the first time that the Bucs needed a fifth starter.

With Karstens and Francisco Liriano both out to begin the season, two from the group of: left-handed pitchers Jeff Locke and Jonathan Sanchez and right-handed pitchers Kyle McPherson and Jeanmar Gomez will make the Opening Day roster, although it appears all but certain that Sanchez has pitched his way onto the roster.

I wasn’t crazy about the idea of bringing Karstens back to begin with as I don’t believe he adds much value when healthy. However he offers even less at times like this because you just can’t keep the guy healthy.

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