Karstens on track to make Friday start

Karstens on track to make Friday start

PITTSBURGH -- In retrospect, Jeff Karstens thinks the right groin tweak that forced him out of Saturday night's game may have started to act up three innings earlier, as he was running the bases.

So wouldn't you know it: The last time the Pirates had scored (entering Monday night's game) cost them two players. Jose Tabata tweaked his left groin running the bases in the same fifth inning and had to leave the game immediately, and Karstens followed him out after putting up two more zeros toward a 4-0 shutout of Milwaukee.

A bizarre occurrence, but without a long-term effect. Tabata was back in the starting lineup on Monday, leading off against the Cardinals, and Karstens appears to be on track to make his next start as scheduled on Friday in Milwaukee.

Karstens reported no issues after a busy Sunday pregame workout, which included a 35-minute jog, and he also participated in the team's monthly pitchers fielding practice on Monday.

"We'll know more after he throws his bullpen [session on Tuesday], but we don't have any red flags," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He ran around [Sunday] and felt really good. He shagged in the outfield and seemed to be in a really good place."

Until someone else chips in -- A.J. Burnett was getting his shot in Monday's opener of the series with St. Louis -- Karstens has started in the Pirates' past two wins: Aug. 19 in St. Louis and the Saturday whitewash of the Brewers.