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Spring break

SARASOTA, Fla. — I’m taking a one-week sabbatical from the blog … and from spring training. Tomorrow I’ll fly back to Pittsburgh (with a nice, long layover in New Jersey as punishment for my suntan) so I can re-introduce myself to the wife and kids. It will be interesting to see who’s still in the clubhouse when I get back.

Tom Gorzelanny was supposed to be a lock for the rotation, but he’s struggled this spring — yep, there he is, giving up a run-scoring single to Jeff Conine even as I type this. The Pirates aren’t going to give up on Gorzelanny in seven days, but lefty Shane Youman sure has looked mighty good so far.

Boom, Josh Hamilton lashes an RBI single to right. It’s 3-0 Reds and still the first inning. Time for a chat on the pitcher’s mound.

The decision to stick Brad Eldred in the outfield jumbled the conventional wisdom about who’s getting the five bench spots …

… ex-Buccos catcher David Ross singles to left, and it’s 4-0. Hmmm …

If you put a gun to my head today (and please don’t; I’ll tell you what I think for free) I’d pencil the opening day lineup like this: CF Duffy, SS Wilson, 3B Sanchez, 1B LaRoche, LF Bay, RF Nady, C Paulino, 2B Castillo, SP Duke. The bench: Bautista, Hernandez, Matos, Doumit, Eldred.

I’d go into the pitching, too, but it’s too sunny a day to sit here in the press box, pecking away on my laptop. I’ll mull it over sometime next week, while my daughter is busy kicking my butt on GameCube.

… Eric Milton cooperates by fanning on a full-count fastball, and, mercifully, the inning is over. One down. Three weeks to go.

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