A Year-Long Tryout

When the Pirates doled out non-roster invitations this winter to a select number of pitchers, the lucky few consisted mostly of fringe big league arms, guys who may or may not plug a hole in the majors or high minors. Chris Bootcheck, almost nine years since being a first-round pick of the Angels and hoping to catch on, snagged an invite, as did Brian Slocum, a second-round pick of the Indians in 2002. Oddly, the list did not include righthander Brad Lincoln, the fourth overall pick of the 2006 draft and recipient of a $2.75 million bonus who is about to head into—can you believe this?—a sink-or-swim, 40-man "protection" season.

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