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Lincoln to pitch in relief for foreseeable future

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- It appears the Blue Jays have changed their plans for Brad Lincoln. The right-hander will apparently remain in a relief role, rather than being stretched out as a starting pitcher.

Earlier in the spring, there was a plan for Lincoln to pitch multiple innings. That would condition him to pitch as a starter at Triple-A Buffalo, leaving him available to step in if the Blue Jays had injuries or other problems in their pitching staff.

Instead, Lincoln will pitch in relief for the foreseeable future. He's been much more successful in that role in his career, with a 3.38 lifetime ERA in relief compared to 5.65 as a starter. He has a chance to make the Major League bullpen coming out of camp.

"We have kind of backed off that [having him start] a little bit," said manager John Gibbons. "What's his strength going to be? He's got a shot to make the team in that multiple-inning role. He's been so good out of the bullpen in shorter stints. That's kind of what we're looking at now."

Gibbons indicated that even if Lincoln is sent to the Minor Leagues, he likely would not start.