Pirates Option Lincoln, McCutchen to Triple-A

Prior to the Pirates final spring training game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin during Grapefruit League action in Florida, the club optioned right-handers Brad Lincoln and Daniel McCutchen to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Lincoln, 26, made one start (four appearances) this spring. He allowed 10 runs on 12 hits over 8.0 innings with five walks, five strikeouts and three home runs allowed.

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After his final Grapefruit League appearance, where he allowed three runs on two hits over 2.0 innings on Friday, Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said he was under consideration as the long man in the bullpen.

“He’s not going to be a starter, so that’s the only opportunity for him to make the club,”Hurdle said after the game.

Lincoln was aware of his role if he were to make camp in the bullpen, and said recently he was fine with whatever decision they were to make.

“What happens, happens. I’m fine with that,” Lincoln said. “If I have to go back to the minor leagues, I’m fine with that. I’m working my hardest to break camp with this team.”

The 26-year-old righty will be in the Indianapolis rotation to start the 2012 season. Lincoln went 7-8 with a 4.19 ERA over 12 games (eight starts) with Triple-A during the 2011 season.

McCutchen, 29, had a great start to the spring, allowing just one earned run over his first five appearances (4.2 innings). But the right-hander has struggled over the final stretch. McCutchen allowed 11 runs over his final four outings, pushing his spring ERA to 9.82 over 11.0 innings overall.

The right-hander will pitch out of the Indy bullpen, but will be stretched out for long relief.  He posted a 3.72 ERA over 73 games (84.2 innings) with Pittsburgh during the 2011 season. His 84.2 innings ranked fourth most among National League relief pitchers.

The Pirates currently have 28 players remaining in big league camp.

  • Just another one of our fine 1st round picks going pffft. Outside of AMac and Walker, we’ve struck out. 

    • To be fair, he has had some injuries. The book’s not completely closed on him yet.

    •  That’s a bit of an unfair assessment.  Yeah, Lincoln really hasn’t come as advertised.  I remember him coming out of college and he could throw 93-95 with a “great” curveball.  So far it’s just turned out that he throws 91-92 with “eh” secondary stuff.  I still think Sanchez has a good chance to be something very much worthwhile.  Alvarez still doesn’t have that much experience, and the other guys are still really young.

      • Ian…. wasn’t referring to the ones who haven’t made it to the majors….only the ones that have. Pedro is looking like a bust, but, yes, he has time to turn it around and I hope he does.

        Indy…….sure Brad’s had some injuries, but he still isn’t a top prospect.

        When you pick 4, 4, and 2 you expect more than what we’ve gotten from those 3. Not a condemnation, just a fact that, so far, we’ve gotten zilch from them.

  • My bullpen prediction is 7 guys: Hanrahan, Meek, Grilli, Resop, Cruz, Leroux, Watson. With the extra spot with Morton going on the DL to an extra bat, so Hague, Harrison, Navarro all making the team. That’s just my guess. They could chose eight in the pen. Honestly, they haven’t really indicated as to which they prefer, just that they are weighing the options and which would be more beneficial. 

  • So who’s left in the bullpen now?  Hanrahan, Meek, Grilli, Cruz, Resop, Leroux, Hughes, and the lefties?  

    9 in all, so two more cuts, or one more if they choose to go with 8 relievers to start the season.  The more time goes on, I can see them choosing the latter.  In that case, I could see one of the lefties going down, then an extended try-out for Leroux v. Hughes.  Leroux has looked good at times, and especially last year.  So maybe after ditching the change-up, he can pick back up where he left off.  If he wasn’t out of options though, I don’t see this problem happening.

    For as much disdain as I still have for choosing Moskos over Weiters, Moskos did look pretty good this Spring.  Depending on how it works out, I could see the Pirates having two left-handers out of the bullpen in the next couple of months.

    Regardless of whoever makes the first group of 7, however, I think there are going to be plenty of guys that have opportunities.

    An open question to any of the writers, but especially Kristi….how do you see this working out?  I’m sure you have an infinitely better grasp of the pulse of what’s going on in Bradenton.