Jeff Karstens left last night’s start after one inning with shoulder soreness and the Pirates have placed him on the disabled list.
To replace him on the roster Pittsburgh called up Brad Lincoln, a one-time top prospect and former No. 4 overall pick who pitched 48 innings for the Pirates last season. Lincoln is 26 years old and at this point he looks like a marginal big leaguer after throwing 279 innings with a 4.19 ERA and 229/55 K/BB ratio at Triple-A.
Karstens was a pleasant surprise for the Pirates last season, posting a 3.39 ERA in 162 innings, but his secondary numbers were far less impressive and he missed time in September with, you guessed it, shoulder problems.
Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.
Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.
Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.