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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: A running back goes down

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> Baron Batch showed enough promise in the early stages of the Steelers’ camp that, even if his knee is hurt as seriously as it appears, he’s going to have bright days ahead of him. Still, it reminds you of the human factor in athletics when someone makes strikes like that as a rookie, gets set for a ton of carries in a preseason game just two nights away, begins feeling at home on a championship-level roster for an iconic franchise … and it all goes awry because of one misstep.

The blink of an eye, indeed.

Even someone in a special stratosphere like Sidney Crosby is only one misstep from having questions about it being all over.

>> Andrew McCutchen’s unusual day — reached base all five times, put one ball into play (deep into the left-center seats) — raises for me anew the question as to where he should bat in the lineup.

It’s a little strange that he’s been in the majors for more than two years now, and there remains no clear answer. He looks like he tries harder at OBP things out of leadoff, and it’s glaring that he’s more comfortable trying to steal there. But he also has 16 home runs right now, and that kind of power can be misplaced at the top with a team like the Pirates.

Myself, I still lean leadoff. Always have. If he homers, so be it. Jeff Karstens will draw a walk right before he comes up. Just like yesterday.

>> The thinly supported notion that the Blue Jays were systematically stealing signs at the Rogers Centre flies in the face of the fact that baseball people notice everything. And I mean everything. Per this report, the infamous man in the white shirt was seen at one game in late 2009, then again in early 2010, then never again.

Sorry, that doesn’t fit the baseball culture. If you or I tries to signal signs to the batter from the core of Neptune, these people will notice.

>> Oh, and let’s leave Jose Bautista out of this, too. A cursory glance at his numbers shows that he hit 21 of his home runs on the road last season. Double that, and 42 is still amazing. Unless, of course, the man in the white shirt was everywhere.

>> I’m headed up to Milwaukee later today, for what I see as a still-important series for the Pirates, even if just for the knowledge that they can beat the Brewers. Or can they?

I’ll have a handful of different things to file from up there.

>> Reminder: Our weekly chat is today at noon. You can post entries beginning at 6 a.m.

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