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Jeff Karstens and Chris Leroux Close To Returning To Pirates

A pair of injured Pittsburgh Pirates Pitchers are close to returning to the team according to Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.

Hurdle tells Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Karstens is expected to throw 80 pitches in his next rehab start with Class AA Altoona on Tuesday. He expects Karstens to make one more rehab appearance after that and eyes a July 1 return to the major league team.

Pirates reliever Chris Leroux, who has spent the entire season on the 60-day disabled list, is also eyeing a return in late June. He has made four rehab appearances with Class AAA Indianapolis without problems. His return could mean a log jam in the bullpen, especially with Brad Lincoln expecting to return to a relief role when Karstens comes back. Hurdle says that health of current relievers and who has options remaining will play a factor in who will be the odd man out.

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