Karstens with the Pittsburgh Pirates
September 24, 1982 |
San Diego, California
|August 22, 2006, for the New York Yankees|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 1, 2012, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Earned run average||4.44|
|Representing United States|
|Baseball World Cup|
|2007 Tianmu||National team|
Jeffrey "Jeff" Wayne Karstens (born September 24, 1982) is a former right-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB). Karstens pitched for the New York Yankees in 2006 and 2007 and the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2008–2012.
High school and college
Karstens attended Mount Miguel High School in Spring Valley, California. In his senior season, he was the team's Most Valuable Player, a First-Team All-Conference Honors selection, and a Second-Team All-San Diego selection. In his senior year, he posted an 8–2 record with a 2.99 ERA. After high school, Karstens attended Grossmont College and Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, where he played for the Red Raiders.
New York Yankees
Karstens was drafted in the 19th round of the 2003 Major League Baseball draft by the New York Yankees. He played the 2005 season with the Yankees' Double-A affiliate, the Trenton Thunder, posting a 12–11 record with a 4.15 ERA and 147 strikeouts. He led his team in wins with 12 (3rd most in the league), in Games started with 27 (2nd in the league), and in innings pitched with 169 (4th in the league).
Karstens started the 2006 season with the Yankees Triple-A affiliate, the Columbus Clippers. He struggled, posting an 0–5 record with a 9.85 ERA. This resulted in his demotion to Double-A Trenton. At Trenton, he went 6–0 with a 2.31 ERA. His success was rewarded with a trip back to Columbus, where he compiled a 5–0 record with a 1.85 ERA. Karstens was called up from Triple-A Columbus on August 19, 2006. Three days later, he made his Major League debut for the Yankees on August 22, against the Seattle Mariners. He went 5⅔ innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits and two walks for a no-decision in a 6–5 loss. He struck out two and gave up two home runs. On August 27, 2006, he went 6.0 innings giving up 6 hits and 3 earned runs in an 11–8 win against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In that outing, Karstens walked 2, struck out 1, and earned his first career Major League victory.
In spring training prior to the 2007 season, Karstens had an outstanding performance. The first nine innings he pitched were the equivalent of a nine inning shutout. Following that he had a poor four run outing yet he was still considered a darkhorse to make the rotation. The most probable situation would be that he start the season as the long reliever with an occasional spot start. Karstens was shut down due to elbow tendinitis and placed on the 15-day disabled list to start the season, allowing Darrell Rasner to take his spot in the rotation, which he earned after a hamstring injury to staff ace Chien-Ming Wang. After injuries to Yankees starters Mike Mussina and Carl Pavano, he was activated to join the Yankee 40-man roster. On April 28, 2007, in a game against the Boston Red Sox, Karstens was struck in the leg by a line drive off the bat of Boston shortstop Julio Lugo, the first batter of the game. He faced only one more batter before being taken out. It was later reported that Karstens fractured his fibula and was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He was later moved to the 60-day disabled list, and then activated on August 1.
On August 14, 2007, Karstens gave up 5 earned runs in only 3 innings, raising his season ERA to 11.20. The next day, he was optioned back to the Minor Leagues. He was reactivated on September 9. Karstens began the 2008 season on the 15-day disabled list, but was later activated and immediately optioned to the minors.
On July 26, 2008, Karstens was acquired by the Pirates with José Tábata, Ross Ohlendorf, and Daniel McCutchen from the New York Yankees for outfielder Xavier Nady and pitcher Dámaso Marte. On August 1, 2008, Jeff made his Pirates debut, defeating the Chicago Cubs. In Karsten's next start on August 6, he had a perfect game against the Arizona Diamondbacks through 7.2 innings before surrendering a double to Chris Young in the 8th inning. Karstens, and the Pirates, won 2–0 over Randy Johnson; Karstens gave up two hits and a walk.
In 2009, Karstens was fined an undisclosed amount by Major League Baseball for hitting Milwaukee's Ryan Braun square between his shoulder blades with a pitch in April. The Brewers took exception to this and later in the season Karstens was hit by a pitch in the left shoulder by a Milwaukee pitcher. He finished his 2009 campaign of 39 games (13 of which he started) with a 4–6 record, a 5.42 ERA, gave up 12 home runs, hit 2 batsmen, walked 45, struck out 52, had a .279 average against, 1.48 walks and hits per inning pitched, in just 108 innings pitched. Karstens was designated for assignment following the 2009 season. On November 30, 2009, Karstens cleared waivers and was outrighted to the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians.
In 2010, Karstens attended Pirates spring training as a non-roster invitee. He pitched relief in 8 games for a 6.23 ERA and was reassigned to the minor league camp. He began the season in the Triple-A Indianapolis bullpen, but problems with starting Pirates starting pitching prompted a call-up on April 27.
On July 18, 2011, Karstens was named as the National League Player of the Week for the period of July 11–17, 2011. Karstens pitched a complete-game shutout on July 15 in a 4–0 win over the Houston Astros and became the first Pirates starter to win five consecutive decisions since Ian Snell in June 2006.
Karstens had the best season of his career in 2011. Appearing in 30 games (26 starts), in which he went 9–9 with an ERA of 3.38, giving up 22 home runs, hitting 4 batsmen, walking 33, striking out 96, and having a WHIP of 1.207 through 162.1 innings. 
On November 30, 2012, Karstens was designated for assignment and then was not tendered a contract, making him a free agent.
On January 15, 2013, the Pirates resigned Karstens to a 1-year deal. Karstens underwent surgery on his rotator cuff and labrum in his throwing shoulder on June 7, 2013 and was shut down for the rest of the 2013 season.
On May 4, 2015, Karstens announced via Twitter and Instagram his retirement from baseball.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-11-22. Retrieved 2009-06-07. Grossmont College
- Jeff Karstens Statistics (Minor Leagues) – Baseball-Reference.com Archived 2008-03-16 at the Wayback Machine.
- Yahoo Box Score for the 08/22/2006 Game
- Tyler Kepner (2007-04-29). "BASEBALL; After Losing Karstens to Broken Leg, Yanks Get a Lift From Igawa". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-04.
- "Yanks acquire Nady, Marte from Bucs for 4 minor league prospects". SI.com. 2008-07-26. Retrieved 2008-07-26.
- Karen Price (2011-07-19). "Karstens named NL Player of the Week". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on 2012-09-10. Retrieved 2011-07-19.
- Brink, Bill (January 15, 2013). "Karstens back with 1-year deal with Pirates – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
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