Lincoln's development is truly a relief

The Sports Xchange

Brad Lincoln has waited a long time to establish himself as a major league starter. Now he might be happy if it never happens.

Lincoln, the Pirates' first-round draft pick in 2006 who overcame Tommy John surgery the following year, is showing perhaps the best stuff of his career coming out of the bullpen. He's been charged with one earned run in his first seven appearances, all in relief and spanning 14 1/3 innings. His 0.63 ERA ranks third among all National League relievers behind the Reds' Aroldis Chapman and Logan Ondrusek, neither of whom has given up an earned run.

"To come in and pitch the way he has, he's been very professional," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Lincoln acknowledged it's a different challenge -- "You've got to get your mind right," he said -- but took no issue with the move. That's not surprising, given how long it has taken him to arrive in the majors.

"I can't read management's minds," he said. "But I'm enjoying it."

Lincoln's stuff has looked exceptional at times.

"Just rear back and let it fly," he said.

Lincoln was merely a spectator Friday night as the Pirates lost to Houston 1-0.

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