Pitching depth tested


BALTIMORE — A year ago, the Pirates were in the midst of a catcher emergency, searching for someone healthy and able to play at the major league level. This year, the pitching depth is being tested.

Jeff Karstens, who’s on the DL due to injuries to his shoulder and hip, is inching closer to rejoining the rotation. But Charlie Morton will be out the rest of the season — and probably longer — due to a torn ligament in his right elbow. Morton likely will need Tommy John surgery, which usually requires at least a year of recovery time. There was a flurry of speculation this morning that LHP Rudy Owens was on his way up to the majors to join the rotation. Not true. For now the plan is to keep Brad Lincoln in the rotation as a spot starter until Karstens is ready to come back.

Speaking of pitching, reliever Daniel McCutchen (strained oblique) today begins his rehab stint with High-A Bradenton.

»»» Sign here, please: OF Barrett Barnes, whom the Pirates drafted 45th overall, agreed to sign for a $1 million bonus, according to Texas Tech SID Scott Lacefield. Barnes’ bonus is $136,000 less than the slot amount. Barnes was taken with a compensation pick, which the Pirates received after losing Ryan Doumit via free agency. He’s flying to Pittsburgh tonight and will sign the contract Friday after having a physical.

»» Fire away: At 7 p.m. Monday, Jason Grilli will take questions during a one-hour “town hall meeting” at concert-oh.com.

»»» Minor matters: INF Stefan Welch, INF Drew Maggi and OF Evan Chambers were promoted to Double-A Altoona. C Miguel Perez was placed on the DL at Altoona. OF Anthony Norman and INF Greg Picart were sent down to short-season A State College.

Game 62: Pirates @ Orioles, 7:05 p.m. ET

Pirates (32-29): 1. Alex Presley lf, 2. Neil Walker 2b , 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Garrett Jones dh, 5. Casey McGehee 1b, 6. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 7. Jose Tabata rf, 8. Rod Barajas c, 9. Clint Barmes ss. Pitcher: Erik Bedard lhp (4-6, 3.59)

Orioles (36-26): 1. Brian Roberts 2b, 2. J.J. Hardy ss, 3. Chris Davis dh, 4. Adam Jones cf, 5. Matt Wieters c, 6. Mark Reynolds 1b, 7. Steve Pearce lf, 8. Steve Tolleson lf, 9. Robert Andino 3b. Pitcher: Tommy Hunter rhp (2-3, 5.40)