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You can never have too many catchers


BRADENTON, Fla. — The Pirates used eight catchers last season, an unusually long parade that was triggered major injuries to Chris Snyder and Ryan Doumit. I asked GM Neal Huntington if there any lessons to be learned from the succession of backstops: “You can never prepare for the exception. Otherwise, you’re going to have 97 insurance policies. We had to adapt on the fly last year. When you lose three major league catchers in a short period of time, you’ve got to adapt on the fly. In a perfect world, you’ve got four guys who you’re comfortable bringing to the big league level. No team has four guys who you’re comfortable playing. You just don’t find a veteran catcher who’s willing to go to Triple-A and sit as a backup to be your fourth-string catcher. We got Rod Barajas. Michael McKenry and Jose Morales will split time (as the backup). We retained Eric Fryer, who can bounce around and play different positions. We’ll continue to explore if there’s something else out there.”

Barajas is busy learning the habits and preferences of each pitcher on the staff. It’s a lot to absorb. I asked him about the give-and-take process that a pitcher and catcher go through as they try to adjust to each other: “I always like working off them. I ask what they like — where they like me to set up, how early or how late, do they like seeing an early target? I’m here to adjust to what they like. At the same time, I’m not going to do something that makes me feel uncomfortable behind the plate. If something like that comes up, we’ll talk about it and try to find a happy medium. I’m here to work for them. That’s my job and my No. 1 priority.”

»»» A.J. Burnett’s speedboat — a sleek, muscular beauty — is parked behind the Pirate City complex this morning. Some of the players were joking that Daniel McCutchen was going to get it as payback for giving Burnett his uniform No. 34.

Jeff Karstens will throw his first batting practice session on Saturday.

Jeff Karstens will throw his first batting practice session on Saturday.

»»» Pitchers will begin throwing batting practice tomorrow. James McDonald, Brad Lincoln, Erik Bedard and Jo-Joe Reyes will be the first ones on the mounds. Burnett, Jeff Karstens and Kevin Correia will throw Saturday. They’ll throw two “innings” of about 15 pitches each, 35 pitches max. Charlie Morton is a little bit behind — he will throw a bullpen session Friday and another Sunday, and is scheduled to toss his first batting practice on Feb. 29.

»»» Gorkys Hernandez and Gustavo Nunez are in the house this morning. That leaves infielder Anderson Hernandez as the only player who hasn’t checked in yet.



  1. J.W. Porter says:

    Great — we got a drunk in charge of the operation.

  2. Van Man says:

    Coonelly and Huntington should be relieved of their duties immediately. I will not attend another game until it happens.

  3. The Gonsk says:

    Give Coonelly a break. He’s filthy rich. In this country, that allows him to do whatever the hell he wants, right?

  4. Dejan Shortpants says:

    I’m just waiting to see if anyone at the T-R has the testosterone to write what needs to be said here.

  5. John Lease says:

    Morales probably has a very good chance of being the backup with McKenry back in AAA.

  6. Jay Walker says:

    Of course the commissioner’s office won’t discipline this idiot. Coonelly used to work there. Bud Selig is his buddy.

  7. Jim says:

    Driving the wrong way? Isn’t that just a Pirate being a Pirate?

  8. Jim says:

    I say trade the Pirates franchise for the New Orleans Hornets. In the Cavaliers, we’d have a natural rival. MLB has run its course here, I’m afraid to say.

  9. Kevin S says:

    Has anything been said about why Coonelly’s license was already suspended ??

  10. Kevin says:

    Braun wins his appeal …. who didn’t see that coming, eh?

  11. PetroSteel says:

    Rob, why all the upbeat posts on your blog all the time?

    My thoughts are that Frank made a terrible mistake in judgment. A very bad mistake. Thank God no one was hurt or worse.

    Now, he might not be everyone’s choice to be the President of the Pirates. However, the guy is not a bad person as far as I know.

    Thanks God no one got hurt. Hopefully, he can learn from his terrible mistake. And I think we should all move on.

  12. @ PetroSteel: Not sure what you mean by “upbeat.” Things happen, I see them and report on them, attempt to explain what they mean. That’s the nature of my job.
    As for the incident involving Frank Coonelly, it’s not my place as a reporter to write my opinion. That’s for a columnist. And, as I’ve said before, I have no patience for anyone who merely hurls insults.

  13. PetroSteel says:


    I wasn’t directing my comments towards you. Sorry for the misunderstanding!!!

    You are doing a great job and I enjoy your work.

    I was directing them towards the posts from other the people on your blog. I never heard so much negitive talk. Why would anyone waste their time with the Pirates team,players,front office if they didn’t like them?

    I said “Rob, why all the upbeat posts on your blog all the time?” Was my way of being sarcastic about it.

  14. Ron says:

    Petro steel. Bloggers are sarcastic because they are feed up with losing and having the worst owner in possibly all professional sports. Can you blame them?

  15. Van Man says:

    Richard Poplawski wasn’t that a bad person until he murdered a few people, either. Anyone can make a mistake, right? We’re human. Let’s keep this in mind before we criticize anyone.

  16. The Gonsk says:

    I thought Pirates were given contract extensions for driving the wrong way. Isn’t that right, Neal?

  17. Jay Walker says:

    Sorry, but nothing Coonelly does will atone for the years of disservice that he has done our city.

  18. Bill says:

    I strongly disagree with how the posts are beating up Coonelly for a mistake. I have had a number of my employees make the same mistake. Did I fire them ? No! Did they hurt them and their families? yes! Are they still employed by my company? Yes!
    Mistakes are made — be strong and move on. If you have not made any mistakes in your life that impacted others then you can criticize.

  19. Chosen One says:

    Bill, I totally agree. People who make seven or eight figures — and I’m one of them — deserve a different set of rules. God chose us for a reason. Either accept that fact or leave the country.

  20. Paddy says:

    I commend Coonelly for his DUI. He is a great man.

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