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."