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Karstens shut down

Right-hander Jeff Karstens probably is done for the season due to what manager John Russell described as a “cranky” arm. Karstens (3-10, 4.88) had his shoulder heavily iced in recent days.

“The doctors don’t see anything structurally wrong with it,” Russell said. “It’s been a long year for him, and it’s getting a little cranky. We don’t know for sure yet if he’ll be able to make another start.”

Karstens last pitched Aug. 31 against the Cubs and picked up the win by allowing two runs on four hits in six innings. But he was working on extra rest, as his Aug. 25 start was skipped because of the arm troubles.

»»» To replace Karstens tomorrow against the Braves, lefty Brian Burres (2-3, 6.31) will make his eighth start of the season. If he is recalled, right-hander Brad Lincoln, who pitches tomorrow for Triple-A Indianapolis, is a possible fill-in for Karstens the rest of the month.

»»» Righty Joe Martinez was called up from Triple-A Indy, but he does not appear to be a candidate to take Karstens’ rotation spot. When I asked how Martinez will be used, Russell immediately responded, “Bullpen.”

Martinez went 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in four games with the San Francisco Giants before being traded to the Pirates on July 31. “He’s done OK,” Russell said. “He’s had some success, but also had some struggles.”

The Pirates still plan to make Martinez a starter in the long term.

»»» Congrats to High-A Bradenton, which last night clinched the South Division of the Florida State League. Bradenton will face the Charlotte Stone Crabs in the first-round of the playoffs, a best-of-three series which will begin Tuesday night at McKechnie Field.

»»» The Pirates are wearing “JLB” patches on their uniform sleeves to honor former GM Joe L. Brown, who recently died.

Lineups for this afternoon’s game:

Nationals (58-78) – 1. Nyjer Morgan cf, 2. Ian Desmond ss, 3. Ryan Zimmerman 3b, 4. Adam Dunn 1b, 5. Roger Bernadina lf, 6. Michael Morse rf, 7. Adam Kennedy 2b, 8. Wilson Ramos c, 9. Jason Marquis (1-7, 8.13) rhp

Pirates (45-90) – 1. Andrew McCutchen 8, 2. Jose Tabata lf, 3. Neil Walker 2b, 4. Garrett Jones 1b, 5. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. Ryan Doumit rf, 7. Ronny Cedeno ss, 8. Chris Snyder c, 9. Charlie Morton (1-10, 10.03) rhp

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