Karstens to get call opposite Strasburg

Karstens to get call opposite Strasburg

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have set their rotation for the next five days, and it will be Jeff Karstens who opposes Stephen Strasburg when the Nationals' phenom makes his Major League debut on Tuesday.

Tuesday's start was supposed to go Zach Duke until Wednesday's rainout foiled the team's rotation plans. Duke, Paul Maholm and Ross Ohlendorf had to be pushed back and are all pitching in this weekend's series against the Giants. Pittsburgh will now use newly acquired lefty Dana Eveland in Monday's makeup game before sending Karstens to the mound for a game that will be televised nationally on MLB Network.

"Jeff seems to rise to occasion," manager John Russell said. "He's very good about blocking things out. I think he really likes that atmosphere."

Russell would not commit to his rotation plans beyond these next five days. The club has off-days scheduled on June 14 and June 21, which could allow the Pirates to forgo using a fifth starter twice later this month. As the rotation gets settled, Russell also noted that he'd like to make sure he splits up his left-handed starters appropriately. Right now the Pirates have three lefty starters -- Duke, Maholm and Eveland.