PITTSBURGH -- Jeff Karstens went through an uneventful bullpen session on Thursday and is poised to make what is anticipated to be his final rehab start on Sunday in Indianapolis.
That means Brad Lincoln and Kevin Correia could be participating in their own version of "Survivor" when they take the mound in the final two games of the series against Detroit. Whoever has the lesser performance could be voted out of the rotation.
The Bucs have set their pitching plans through next week's four-game series in Philadelphia, but the starter for Thursday, when Lincoln's spot would next come up, is "to be announced." Correia's next turn would be on Friday in St. Louis, but plans for that series aren't yet indicated.
"We're thinking things through, weighing all the options of how we might be best served going forward," manager Clint Hurdle said. "A lot of things are in play for that [Thursday] slot. Jeff could very well figure in that slot.
"We're having internal meetings to decide what we want to do with the rotation. We'll see how it plays out. I'm looking forward to seeing Brad pitch [on Saturday], then seeing what Correia is able to bring Sunday."
Karstens made 78 pitches in a very sharp seven-inning rehab outing on Tuesday in Double-A Altoona. He does not figure to have any pitch limitations, or pitch targets for that matter, when he goes to the hill for the Triple-A Indians on Sunday.
The 29-year-old right-hander, generally recognized as the Pirates' strongest starter in the second half of the 2011 season, went on the disabled list in mid-April with inflammation in his shoulder. He was dealt a minor setback earlier this month when he tweaked his hip flexor.