Jeff Karstens doesn't have the best stuff of the five pitchers in the Pittsburgh Pirates' rotation. However, the right-hander's value lies in his ability to keep the Pirates in most of his starts.
Thus, it was bad news when Karstens was forced to leave a second straight start because of a leg injury Friday night in a 9-3 loss at Milwaukee. He was pulled because of right hip flexor discomfort after retiring only one of the six batters he faced.
Karstens was removed from his previous start, also against Milwaukee, Aug. 25 because of a strained right groin. However, he got through his between starts throwing session without problem and was pronounced ready to pitch Friday.
Karstens said he felt fine warming up Friday and did not second-guess himself for deciding to pitch. He was upset about hurting his team in the pennant race, though the Pirates remained only one game behind St. Louis for the second National League wild card.
"I don't want to put my team in a situation like that," Karstens said. "To do that is, one, kind of upsetting to me and, two, it is disappointing just because I let the team down. It is kind of deflating for myself."
If Karstens is unable to make his next scheduled start, right-hander Kevin Correia is a likely candidate to return to the rotation, especially after pitching four scoreless relief innings Friday night.