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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: And Plax was courted … why?

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Monday column is about the pending breakout of Antonio Brown. And yeah, it looks very pending. The kid’s been getting wows from the first day of camp, and he clearly has won the confidence of Ben Roethlisberger, no small matter for a receiver.

There’s kind of a by-the-way line in there about the courtship of Plaxico Burress, which now looks pretty peculiar. So let me ask here: What were the Steelers thinking with that? Aren’t they the stay-in-house-at-all-costs types? Aren’t they the shrewd talent evaluators who should have realized what they had? Or could they really just be setting this up to go five wides with Jerricho Cotchery?

I wouldn’t laugh off the last possibility. Bruce Arians has gone five wides before. And if he could script an opening drive in which David Johnson is the primary receiver the whole way down the field, I wouldn’t dismiss anything, actually.

>> If you’re a Steelers fan and you haven’t seen our Mark Kaboly do postgame video reviews, you’re missing out. Here’s the link.

>> It’s neat that Pedro Alvarez hit a 10th-inning home run last night after being taunted much of the evening by the crowd in Toledo.

It’s neat, too, that he had this perspective afterward: “It’s just a matter of trying to string together some good at bats and stick with my approach. I was trying to get a pitch I could handle, put a good swing on and make some solid contact. I got a 1-1 fastball over the plate, put a good swing on it and, once it left the bat, it felt pretty good. You know, everything we’ve been working on came to fruition. I’ve got to take that into tomorrow and build off of that.”

Exactly. Let him build off it. Since being optioned back by the Pirates, Alvarez was 5 for 39 with 15 strikeouts before that swing.

>> Jeff Karstens isn’t so much falling back to reality as he is wearing out. You could see the lack of life on the breaking ball yesterday, the lack of zip on the fastball. When he was going well, he had good enough stuff to get more than his share of swings and misses. Not anymore.

We can analyze that to death, or we can just look at Karstens as one seriously skinny dude who is well over his 2010 innings count.

>> If you read Rob Biertempfel’s coverage from St. Louis about whether or not the Pirates want Ronny Cedeno back, you’ll see what I meant in the chat earlier this week about Cedeno’s option being no lock to be picked up. Kind of easy to read between the lines of those quotes: They’ll happily look elsewhere.

>> My appearance on KDKA-TV’s “Showdown” last night will be podcast (podcasted?) right here.

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