PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates are optimistic that Jeff Clement will be ready to participate in Spring Training after the first baseman underwent successful surgery on his left knee Wednesday.

Dr. Richard Steadman performed the microfracture procedure, which was focused on the non-weight bearing portion of Clement's knee. Dr. Steadman estimated that Clement's recovery time will be about six months.

Such a timetable means that there might still be limitations in what Clement is able to do at the start of Spring Training.

This marks the second time in three years that Clement's season has ended prematurely due to left knee surgery. He underwent a procedure on his knee in September 2008 while in the Mariners' system.

Clement finished the season with a .201 batting average, three homers, seven doubles and 12 RBIs in 144 at-bats with Pittsburgh.

Lincoln needs to shake off rust with Bucs

PITTSBURGH -- Brad Lincoln ended a 15-day layoff with an appearance out of the bullpen in the Pirates' 11-6 win over the Cardinals on Wednesday night.

The organization recalled Lincoln on Sept. 7, one day after the right-hander made his final start in Triple-A. By design, Lincoln spent about 10 days working on his mechanics with pitching coach Ray Searage before the Pirates made him available to pitch in relief.

He came into Wednesday's game with a nine-run lead, and gave up three runs (two earned) before getting out of the 29-pitch inning. His rustiness showed, as he allowed two hits and walked one.

"When you see stuff like that, it's because he hasn't been out there for a while," manager John Russell said. "He was a little off, though he wasn't all over the place. He didn't really have his feel. He threw some fastballs down that were just off, which was good to see. He misfired some up, though that's what happens when you're throwing harder."

The Pirates would ideally like to give Lincoln a few more chances to work out of the 'pen before the season ends. He will come into Spring Training, though, fighting for a spot in the big league rotation.

Bucs to honor Minors award-winners

PITTSBURGH -- Prior to Friday's game against the Astros, the Pirates will recognize Rudy Owens and Alex Presley as the organization's Minor League award recipients.

For the second straight year, Owens has been named Pittsburgh's Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Presley, who began the season in Double-A and is ending it in Pittsburgh, earned Player of the Year honors.

Owens spent 2010 with Double-A Altoona, where he finished 12-6 with a 2.46 ERA in 26 starts. The left-hander's ERA was the lowest among all Eastern League pitchers, and his 132 strikeouts ranked third best in the league. In his 150 innings pitched, Owens walked just 23.

Presley put his name on the prospect map with a breakout 2010 season. After spending '09 in high Class A, the outfielder hit .350 in his first 67 Double-A games. That earned him a promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis, where Presley batted .294 in 69 games.

Presley's productive Minor League campaign earned him a place on the Pirates' 40-man roster, as he was among the club's September callups.

Worth noting

Friday's game against the Astros marks the start of the Pirates' final home series in 2010. Pittsburgh is 2-10 against Houston this year, though the club is 2-1 in the only series played at PNC Park. ... With his start in right field on Thursday, John Bowker has now started eight straight games. ... Ryan Doumit has now appeared in 117 games, setting a new career high. Of Doumit's appearances, 92 have come behind the plate. ... Second baseman Neil Walker entered Thursday ranked third in the National League with 47 RBIs since the All-Star break. Walker trails only Troy Tulowitzki (55) and Matt Holliday (48) in that department.