BRADENTON, Fla. — Although righty Jeff Karstens could end up in the bullpen this season, he’ll build up innings like a starter for at least the first couple weeks of Grapefruit League games.
“We’ve got a handful of guys who are not just in that (battle) for the fifth rotation spot but could be a long man out of the pen,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We’ve got to make sure that, when we get to the middle of March, they’ve got innings pitched and have had an ample opportunity to compete.
“You’ve got to pay attention to your innings; you’ve only got so many. You don’t always want to try to recreate (game action) with ‘B’ games. If you do have to go that way, you can use your older guys who have more job security (in ‘B’ games) and amp up the innings in the ‘A’ games for the guys who are in competition.”
»»» Hurdle is one of 12 new skippers this season, an unusually high amount of turnover. “There’s movement within the game and movement within leadership,” Hurdle said. “I think it runs in cycles sometimes. One of the challenges of the job is continuity and tenure.”