At the time of the 2006 draft, I would have exercised the No. 1 overall pick on Brad Lincoln. The Pirates wound up taking him fourth overall, and he didn’t pitch much in his first pro summer because of a strained oblique. That didn’t worry me, but this does: The Pirates held him out of their first spring-training workout yesterday because he has a forearm strain and irritation in his right elbow. He won’t throw for 2-4 weeks, and these are often the first symptoms of ligament damage. Pittsburgh’s farm system has taken a couple of hits already, with the trade of Brent Lillibridge to the Braves and Neil Walker losing at least a little value by moving from catcher to third base. This would be the worst news yet.
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