In what’s probably the best news of the spring, Charlie Morton will take the mound against the Phillies today. This means that it’s reasonable to think he’ll be ready for Opening Day, which is fantastic. Brad Lincoln and Kyle McPherson will both miss their scheduled outings today, due to a calf and dead arm, respectively. “Dead arm” sounds scary, but I think it’s pretty common for young guys to have a bit of trouble early in the spring as they try to ramp things up and usually “dead arm” is the catch-all description for this sort of problem. Obviously it could be the sign of something worse for McPherson, but I wouldn’t panic about it quite yet.
I’m not sure how far Lincoln’s calf problem will set him back, but given that Kevin Correia’s been solid in his first couple spring training outings, any serious time missed will almost certainly cost Lincoln a chance to make the rotation on Opening Day, especially given Morton’s progress. As an aside, the cognitive dissonance between Pirate fans and the media on Kevin Correia is really, really amusing to me. I’m over here kind of hoping Correia doesn’t make the team at all, while some people are wondering if he’s the Opening Day starter (by “some people” I’m not trying to avoid mentioning Tom Singer; he’s just not the only person I’ve heard suggest that Correia could be the Opening Day starter this year).
Imagine if Lincoln somehow beats Correia out for the last rotation spot and the Pirates decide to eat the money they owe Correia rather than waste a roster spot on him. A subset of Pirate fans (myself included) would be happy with the decision given the way Correia pitched for most of last year, while much of the media would likely react like the Pirates had committed a war crime in disrespecting a Veteran Leader and The Club’s Winningest Pitcher. It won’t be an issue, especially if Lincoln misses more than a day or two here, but it’s something to keep in the back of your mind as the season progresses.