03/18/11 3:33 PM ET
Hart to open season on DL
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
Hart underwent season-ending surgery on his right shoulder last May and was initially expected to be ready for the start of the 2011 season. But inflammation in that shoulder forced Hart to shut down just before the start of Spring Training and he has only thrown three light bullpen sessions so far.
That progression means Hart is about two months behind the rest of the pitchers. He can make up that time by throwing in extended Spring Training once the regular season begins.
"He's not suffered a setback," general manager Neal Huntington said. "It's just taking a little bit longer than maybe the quick returns take. But the 12-month window is still a very realistic window."
Hart was preparing to enter the season out of options, though the Pirates will now have more time to determine whether or not the right-hander is still a part of the organization's future. He hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2009, when he went 1-8 with a 6.92 ERA in 10 starts after being acquired by the Pirates.
Hart will be eligible to come off the disabled list 60 days after Opening Day.
Lincoln hit by liner, outing cut short
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Brad Lincoln's opportunity to show he deserves serious consideration for the Pirates' open rotation spot took a hit on Friday. And Lincoln had the stitch marks to prove it.
Expected to pitch four innings in a start against the Phillies, Lincoln left with two out in the third after being nailed near the right elbow by Jimmy Rollins' line drive. Lincoln recovered to tag Rollins out, but after a mound conference with trainer Brad Henderson and manager Clint Hurdle, Lincoln's day was over.
"It basically got all meat, so there was no bone on bone," Lincoln said, while showing off the spot where the stitches had branded his arm. "That's a good sign. It's a little tight right now, but we'll put some ice on it and reevaluate it [on Saturday] and see how it feels. That will be the real test to see if it's all right."
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The injury was officially diagnosed as a right arm contusion (bruise), and the Pirates would not speculate on whether it will sideline Lincoln next week. How Lincoln's arm responds over the next few days will determine whether or not the right-hander remains in the discussion for a rotation spot.
"It is bad timing, but it's not like we're ruling out my next start already," Lincoln said. "I'm not overly concerned about it right now."
As it is, Lincoln appears to be on the outside looking in for that vacancy, and it didn't help that he was unable to throw as many pitches as the Pirates would have liked in Friday's outing. He has yet to pitch more than three innings in any of his four Grapefruit League appearances.
In the 2 2/3 innings that Lincoln did spend on the mound against the Phillies, he allowed one two-out run in the first. He retired the side in order in the second and was trying to work around a walk in the third. Lincoln fell behind a number of hitters in the outing, but to his credit, the right-hander didn't get hit all that hard.
"The control issue was a factor today," Lincoln said. "I never really did get in a groove. My arm felt great; it was just I couldn't find it out there on the mound. I just battled out there today."
Doumit returns to action
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Ryan Doumit returned to Grapefruit League action on Friday for the first time since March 8. It was an encouraging return, too. Doumit reported feeling no lingering problems from the right oblique strain that has recently hindered him.
Doumit went 0-for-2 with a strikeout and caught five innings before exiting the game. He was struck on his right hand by a pitch in the first inning, but that did not appear to be an issue.
Though Doumit missed a chunk of spring games, he still has plenty of time to get ready for the regular season. The Pirates continue to evaluate how he best fits on the bench, and that decision will determine whether Pittsburgh carries a third catcher to begin the season.
The Pirates' other catcher, Chris Snyder, remains out with back soreness. Snyder hasn't played since March 9, and Doumit would be the one thrust into starting duty if the ailment bothers Snyder longer than expected.
The Pirates made a late flip-flop with the defense before Friday's game, moving Josh Rodriguez from second to short and Pedro Ciriaco out of short to second. The reason, manager Clint Hurdle said afterward, was to get Rodriguez more time at short. The Pirates are already confident in Ciriaco's ability to handle the shortstop position. ... Both Chris Resop and Jose Veras made multi-inning appearances out of the bullpen on Friday. Resop had a particularly tricky outing, having to get warmed up in a hurry after Brad Lincoln exited with a forearm bruise. ... Right-hander Michael Crotta continues to put up zeroes each time out. He made his sixth scoreless relief appearance of the spring on Friday and retired all three hitters he faced. ... Saturday's game against the Red Sox will be televised on Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh. Fans can also look forward to seeing the Pirates highlighted on MLB Network's 30 Clubs in 30 Days series on Tuesday. The Network will be in Bradenton, Fla., filming on Monday.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.