BRADENTON, Fla. -- Given the time needed to properly build his arm strength back up, Joe Beimel will not begin the season in the Pirates' bullpen.
That announcement was made on Friday by general manager Neal Huntington, who, like Beimel, is much more concerned with the left-hander's long-term health than he is about pushing Beimel back on the mound simply for the sake of being on an Opening Day roster.
"I'm looking to be healthy for the entire season," Beimel said. "I think this will work out best for me and the team. Physically, I'm good. The ball is really coming out of my hand pretty good. I think now it's just getting my pitches to where I want them to be to start the season. I'll have time to do that and won't have to rush to get that done."
2010 Spring Training - null
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Right now, Beimel is working his way back from a second arm setback this spring. After missing time because of left forearm tightness early in March, Beimel was recently shut down with elbow discomfort.
He did return to the mound on Thursday for a bullpen session and reported feeling no elbow pain. Beimel's next bullpen session will come on Sunday. From there, the progression will be determined on a day-to-day basis.
Beimel will remain in Florida when the team heads to Philadelphia next week to close out the spring with a pair of exhibition games. While in Bradenton, Beimel will continue to get work in Minor League games. If he is still not ready by the time the Minor League season opens (April 7), Beimel could either remain in extended Spring Training or join one of the organization's affiliates to get more work there.
Because Beimel signed a Minor League contract, he will not have to begin the year on the disabled list. Rather, the Pirates can keep him off the roster entirely until he's ready to return.
"We're going to work through the timing and try to get him back on a mound as quickly as we can in a game situation," Huntington said. "The reality is that he will not be with us Opening Day, but we're going to work as hard as we can to get him back out there as quick as we can."
Because of the two arm injuries, Beimel has made only two spring appearances.