PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Veteran Jeff Karstens was shut down early last season with a shoulder injury and, after returning from that, was hampered by late-season soreness in his hip.
So, it was disconcerting when he felt tightness in his upper right arm shortly after Pirates camp began.
At the time, Karstens said it was more of a precaution; that he didn’t “want another Arizona,” referring to last April when he left a game after one inning with the shoulder injury.
So, this spring he’s been taking it slowly, but was encouraged Tuesday morning when he threw a bullpen session followed by live batting practice and two simulated innings at Pirate City.
Karstens warmed up gradually in the bullpen mixing 2-and-4-seam fastballs before finally snapping off a few curves.
“No fear,” Karstens said. “Just a matter of letting go,” before facing minor leaguers Barrett Barnes and Jeremy Farrell.
“I felt better in the second inning than the first – you saw more ground balls,” Karstens said.
He also received tips from pitching coach Ray Searage and teammate A.J. Burnett, who came across town for support.
“When (Burnett) is around, people notice and it’s one of those things where you say ‘Alright, I really gotta focus because you want to work just as hard as he does.'” Karstens said.
Karstens said there was no pain or tightness, but he’ll still have to see how he feels tomorrow.
“I’m ready to be moving in the right direction,” he said. “Whatever they tell me to do, I’ll be there with a big smile on my face, ready to go. Hopefully this will lead to a game within the next 7 to 10 days.”