Bucs won't rush Karstens back

Bucs won't rush Karstens back

PITTSBURGH -- Jeff Karstens was an Interleague animal last season, 3-0 with a 2.36 ERA in four starts. But that recent history will have no bearing on the timetable for his return to the Pirates' rotation.

Two of Karstens' 2011 American League prey -- Cleveland and Detroit -- are in the next round of the Bucs' Interleague schedule that kicks off on June 8. That won't influence the way the staff treats Karstens, on the disabled list since mid-April with shoulder inflammation.

"We're not going to rush him. His health is more important than statistics," manager Clint Hurdle said. "And how do we know that the Jeff Karstens that was effective in Interleague Play is the same Jeff Karstens we're looking at today?

"We'll see how it goes. If he can ratchet it up and is ready, so be it. If not, we're fit for duty with the staff we have in place."

In what Hurdle called "a step in the right direction," Karstens threw 59 pitches on Saturday night in his second rehab start with Indianapolis in Louisville. He will next progress to another rehab outing of five innings or 80 pitches, at a site yet to be decided.