Leroux more likely for pen than rotation


BRADENTON, Fla. — Chris Leroux wants to get a crack at making the Pirates’ starting rotation, but most likely will go into the season as a long reliever and spot starter. “You remember Jeff Karstens?” pitching coach Ray Searage said, referring to the swingman who spent five seasons with the Pirates. “We’ve got that type of pitcher in Chris Leroux. We’ll see how things play out in spring training. Hopefully, he falls into the bullpen. Because if he’s in the rotation, something (bad) happened.”

Then again, perhaps something bad has happened. The Pirates hoped to sign free agent lefty Francisco Liriano as their No. 3 starter, but that deal is in limbo because Liriano seriously injured his non-throwing arm in late December. A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez and James McDonald already are locks for the rotation. “Whatever (role) the Pirates throw at me, I’m going to be ready for it,” Leroux said.

More about Leroux in Thursday’s Trib.