CHC@PIT: Inge dons Penguins gear, skates around

MILWAUKEE -- Renowned hockey fanatic Brandon Inge is already fretting over what, for him, would be sweet misery.

How will he possibly handle a Stanley Cup Final between his longtime rink favorites, the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team he quickly adopted following his move to the Pirates?

"I don't know what I'm going to do if it's between those two teams," Inge said. "I've always been a hometown guy, and I like following the hockey teams. Even when I was in Oakland, I tried to keep up with San Jose."

But Inge was Detroit's hometown guy from 2001 to April 2012, when he was released by the Tigers. The thought of returning to Motown -- the Bucs visit the Tigers for Interleague Play on Monday and Tuesday -- just as the Red Wings are about to potentially clinch a spot in the Western Conference Finals while the Penguins have already moved on with their five-game dismissal of Ottawa is intriguing.

"It's really cool. It's exciting, and I'm happy for them," Inge said of the Red Wings, who lead the Blackhawks 3-1 in the Western Conference Semifinals and will try to close them out in Chicago on Saturday night.

If the series continues, the teams will face off again Monday night in Detroit, a few hours after the approximated final out at Comerica Park.

Detroit fans are famous for their boisterous sports celebrations, so the Bucs could be in for a tumultuous Detroit stay.

"The city's going to be crazy. They tend to celebrate big," Inge said.

Inge anticipates taking the field for the first time in road grays in a park that he called home for 11-plus years. He had already undergone shoulder surgery and his arm was in a sling when he accompanied the A's on their only Detroit visit last season, Sept. 18-20.

"That'll be cool, too," said Inge, an extremely popular player who should get a warm Detroit reception. "But I'll just want to beat them. That's what I do -- compete."

Karstens' progress halted by shoulder discomfort

2013 Outlook: Karstens has value when healthy

MILWAUKEE -- Jeff Karstens went to Buffalo a couple of days ago. Now he is on his way back to Pittsburgh.

But no one really knows where the right-hander is headed after he felt discomfort in his right shoulder Friday while playing catch, once again shutting down his on-and-off rehab from year-long shoulder discomfort.

Instead of staying with Triple-A Indianapolis and taking the mound for the Indians, Karstens will undergo an evaluation by the Pirates' medical staff.

"We feel bad for Jeff," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Other than the natural expression of sympathy for the fan favorite and good teammate, there wasn't much else for the Pirates to say. This setback did not come as a shock, and it does little to alter the team's depth among starting pitchers.

While Charlie Morton and James McDonald continue to work their way back, aiming to somehow crack a rotation that is going strong, Karstens has been patient since first feeling discomfort in the shoulder before the start of exhibition play in Spring Training.

Karstens never made a Grapefruit League appearance, and ever since has been limited to bullpen sessions and simulated games. He was originally non-tendered by the Pirates, who re-signed him for $2.5 million in mid-January.

First number/Last word

23-9: The Pirates' record following series openers, entering Saturday's second game against the Brewers.

• "He's pitched amazing ball this whole time, and we just haven't been able to produce the runs we've needed. Maybe we'll be the Miami Heat. In the second half, just take off." -- Andrew McCutchen, on the lack of run support that has saddled A.J. Burnett with a record of 3-5 despite an ERA of 2.57.

Worth noting

• Charlie Morton's penultimate rehab start for Triple-A Indianapolis has been pushed back from Sunday to Monday due to the Thursday birth of his and wife Cindy's first child. It means Morton will target his six innings or 90 pitches at Pawtucket in Indianapolis, instead of pitching at Buffalo.

• Infielder John McDonald (back and elbow) will depart Sunday to begin a very detailed rehab assignment with Indianapolis: He will play five innings at second base on Monday, seven innings at shortstop on Tuesday, take a day off, then play nine at short and at second on consecutive days. After that, he will be reevaluated to determine the next step.

• Pirates manager Clint Hurdle admitted the possibility of short-term roster changes to gear up for the Monday-Tuesday Interleague Play games in Detroit.

"We're discussing that now. We're mapping it all out," Hurdle said.