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Pirates GM Neal Huntington: Brad Lincoln Still Has Work To Do

Bucs GM Neal Huntington defends his decision to keep starting pitching prospect Brad Lincoln in the minors:

Before the game, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington spoke on his radio show how fans shouldn't expect Brad Lincoln to be recalled anytime soon.

"Brad has had a quality May, and we're still working through the process with him. Sometimes, Triple-A stats don't always convert to major-league performance, but Brad's certainly getting closer." The changeup and breaking ball are more effective of late. "But four or five outings doesn't mean he's mastered it."

The changeup has been Lincoln's achilles heel so far in his career--righties give him little trouble because his curveball is so good, but against lefties, who see his curveball longer, Lincoln struggles, because he doesn't have another pitch to keep hitters from sitting on his fastball. The Bucs surely do have a point that he could continue to work on his changeup.

There comes a point, though, when one wonders whether Lincoln might be able to do that work at the big-league level. With Charlie Morton's recent trip to the disabled list, the Pirates' rotation is currently in a shambles, and the Bucs don't know who will pitch on Tuesday. Lincoln, who is the Bucs' most advanced pitching prospect and who has pitched brilliantly at Class AAA Indianapolis in May, would have been the most obvious choice is the Pirates hadn't had him pitch on Friday. Under Huntington, the Pirates have been very stubborn about promoting prospects unless they learn what the Pirates want them to, regardless of how well their statistics say they're doing. That might be a good approach in the long run, but it's frustrating in times like these.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.