Bucs' Bullington Anything but Busy

Article excerpt

If right-hander Bryan Bullington has a future with the Pirates, it probably will be as a reliever instead of as a starting pitcher.

Bullington has not pitched since May 25, when he made his last start for Triple-A Indianapolis. He joined the Pirates on May 29 as a long reliever after Tom Gorzelanny lasted just two-thirds of an inning against Cincinnati.

The starting pitchers have been more reliable lately, giving Bullington nothing to do except occasionally warm up and throw regular side sessions.

"I don't see a huge need to move him (back to Indy)," manager John Russell said. "I'd like to see him pitch out of the bullpen."

Russell stopped short of saying Bullington -- whom the Pirates touted as a middle-of-the-rotation starter when they made him the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2002 -- is now a full-time reliever.

However, earlier this season, John Van Benschoten was in a similar situation and was quickly sent back to Indy to get regular turns in the rotation rather than languish in the bullpen.

"Van Benschoten is our sixth starter," general manager Neal Huntington said. "We don't feel as strongly about keeping Bullington stretched out as we do with Van Benschoten."

Bullington is trying to make the best of the situation.

"As long as our starters keep going six or seven innings and we're winning, I don't mind," he said. "I'll keep waiting."

Bonus benchmarks

Bullington received the largest signing bonus for a draft pick in team history, with $4 million. That easily outdistances runner-up Brad Lincoln, who received $2.75 million as the fourth overall pick in 2006. …