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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Crosby concussion, Part Deux?

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> The Penguins’ statement about holding Sidney Crosby out of the next two games was conspicuously missing the following two words:

1. Concussion.

2. Symptoms.

I understand why they’d do that, but it still leaves me a little squeamish. Instead, we got terms from Ray Shero like “wasn’t feeling 100 percent” and “we all think it’s best” and “precaution.” If you do one of those college-type arbitrary reading scans, you could easily find cause for concern in there.

That said, it’s also important to remember that Crosby practiced yesterday. All he missed was one session the day after the game.

It’s just as important to remember that this team has not exactly erred on the side of caution with a couple recent concussions, the first being Crosby’s and the most recent being Kris Letang’s. Seems like it’s about time, if that’s the case.

>> As long as we’re admonishing teams for not being cautious … I realize this is convenient hindsight, but LaMarr Woodley shouldn’t have been put on that playing field Sunday if his hamstring wasn’t going to be able to handle even a quarter of football. Nothing simulates NFL game action, but there most certainly are ways for athletic trainers to test a hamstring to see if it’s that wonky.

Good to hear he’ll be sitting out tonight against the Browns. The pass rush should do just fine against Colt McCoy assuming Jason Worilds keeps playing well and James Harrison continues to devour humans.

>> I’ve never liked assessing how a team does at the Winter Meetings because I’ve covered enough to know that those are but a snapshot of your whole offseason. So I’m not going to write something like, gee, the Pirates sure did add a lot of mediocre players while saving money for some other day that will never come. Not going there at all.

Individually, I made something of a case for Nate McLouth here yesterday, based mostly on his drive and his genuine love of the city. His comments yesterday certainly backed the latter.

Erik Bedard is a cheaper, more injury-prone version of Paul Maholm. That’s a money move, obviously.

Infielder Yamaico Navarro and catcher Jose Morales are minor-league acquisitions who came at low cost in terms of trade or money. Neither is exciting.

Ross Ohlendorf, Pedro Ciriaco and Jason Jaramillo got cut. Not much there, either. They would have been nuts to go to arbitration again with Ohlendorf after he cleaned them out this past season.

It just might be that the Pirates are doing these things to set the stage for an impact first baseman or starting pitcher. If so, the moves have at least been navigated well enough. But, just within what’s there now, let’s not pretend they’re anything other than cost-cutters. They’ve spent on Clint Barmes, Rod Barajas and Bedard. The biggest positional needs, first base and a significant starting pitcher, remain unaddressed.

>> We will chat today at noon, as always.


  1. Nate says:

    “… James Harrison continues to devour humans.”

    Great line and probably the most accurate description of his play.

  2. PgherinLev says:

    Others are more optimistic about Bedard, referring to his ability to make hitters miss. Still others see the Pirates reaching the Promised Land of +500 ball… if the team picks up Ike Davis and he hits 30, Pedro hits 30 and Cutch chips in 25. :-)

  3. Curt says:

    These are your new weapons that the rest of the NL Central has taken notice and will be scrambling to counter these moves, just to compete for the division with us. Lol.

    The moves are all about saving money in my eyes.

  4. Officer Mancuso says:

    ” I’m not going to write something like, gee, the Pirates sure did add a lot of mediocre players while saving money for some other day that will never come.” Just felt like not writing that again.

    DK: Not nicely done.

  5. Jandy says:

    I saw the headline about Sid and immediately got a terrible feeling in my stomach. Is this happening??? I realize we have little information to go on, but that only makes the feeling worse.

  6. JAL says:


    13 KC Star

    Royals trade Navarro to Pirates

    14 Sarasota Herald Tribune

    Baseball players give back to community

    15 New York Daily News

    Major League Baseball dress code has many checking their footwear

    16 Seattle Times

    Mariners “frontrunner” status could get blown out of the water today

  7. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    -Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers vs. Browns: Five Players to Watch in Pittsburgh’s Game Against Cleveland

    Steelers WR/KR Antonio Brown Named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week–afc-special-teams-player-of-the-Week-13

    Woodley ‘Extremely Doubtful’ To Play Thursday Night Vs. Cleveland

    -Steelers Depot

    Terrible Podcast-Steelers vs Browns

    -Steelers Gab

    Browns at Steelers Week 14 Capsule

  8. JAL says:

    WVU Blogs

    Metro News

    Mountaineers Head To Wichita

    WV Illustrated

    Big East Conference Expands, Questions Remain

    K-State Game More Than a Reunion For Huggins

    Tavon Austin Named All-American



    The Matchup We’ve Been Waiting For: Pens vs. Flyers Tonight on NHL Network

  9. Thundercrack says:

    Yes, the winter meetings are just a snapshot of the offseason.
    And can’t we just focus a little more on if the team improved – as opposed to if they got cheaper.
    I don’t know if they improved during the past four days.

    But I’m not ready to join the “All Pirate free agent signings are bad” club or the “All the offseason moves the Pirates are bad and cheap” club.

  10. SeanE says:

    DK-While Bedard is cheaper and injury prone he pitches not at all like Maholm. Bedard is swing and miss pitcher. He has averaged close to a strikeout an inning over his career. Maholm is a pitch to contact pitcher. In styles the two are not very similar. In results, when healthy, Bedard is also clearly the superior pitcher. Let’s also not forget that Maholm missed the last part of the season in 2011 with a shoulder injury while Bedard was healthy.

    Was this about money? Of course it was in part. The Pirates got a better pitcher for half the price of Maholm’s option. Hard to find fault with that. Further, the lack of interest in Maholm makes it pretty clear that his option year was WAY overpriced. Don’t even see him getting Bedard money at this point.

    Hate to say this DK but I get the sense that you look at every move the team makes with the view that they went on the cheap. Money plays a role in all baseball moves for all teams. I am no NH apologist but I find it hard to be critical of the Bedard move. To say “that’s a money move, obviously” misses the point. This was a good baseball move where money was also a factor.

    DK: I don’t look at all moves in any one way. I certainly didn’t accuse the Pirates of being cheap when they badly overpaid Clint Barmes.

  11. John A says:

    Seriously, Bedard a cheaper version of Maholm? In what universe is Maholm a frontline #2 SP when on the mound? Take another look. Bedard’s cheapness is all about injury risk not talent. At least his 2011 issues were not arm/shoulder related.

    I know that most are ignoring Yamaico Navarro, but he could be the most significant player acquired this week. He’s likely a better prospect than Chase or Jordy, not saying a whole lot, and he could be a long term answer for us at SS.

  12. John A says:

    Curt, I’m not sure how already spending $15.25 million in FA on 2012 payroll with 1B still unresolved is about saving money? If they wanted to save money they could have plugged Hague in at 1B, Chase in at SS, Gorkys in as the 4th OF, McKenry at C, and Locke in at SP.

    I would have preferred one big signing to the spread the risk approach, but it does appear that NH is doing a better job identifying the right people to sign this year.

  13. Drew71 says:


    I’ll let Thunder rail at you from one side. (And look out for Thunder. He just loaded a bear onto his ’78 Bronco and he’s headed downtown.)

    I’m coming at you from the OTHER side.

    Of all the moves, the one you LIKE is Nate Hitless McLouth?

    Who hit .210 over two years in a lineup with more protection?

    WHY? Because he likes Pittsburgh? Does he wanna live downtown?

    A guy who said no other team had called, who was probably destined for the major league minimum somewhere, yet PBC felt the need to offer $1.75MM Guaranteed before, what, the Yankees swept in? 75% more than Lousy Overbay got last night from Arizona? A Lousy Overbay who, if you can believe it, hit better than McLouth?


    Don’t get me wrong. It’s also ONLY $1.75MM and only a backup. I don’t care THAT much. I just can’t believe that THAT’S THE MOVE YOU LIKE

  14. Milo Hamilton says:


    A Hall Of Fame quality post.

  15. Catfish293 says:

    Bedard is in a different galaxy than Maholm, His K rates is double Maholm’s and he is a swing and miss pitcher. That was one of the least compelling arguments you have ever made, no compairison!

  16. Milo Hamilton says:

    Many in the national media & some in the local media were critical of the Steelers for the way handled Troy Polamalu’s last “headache” in Kansas City. Regardless what they called it, you can’t lose sight of the fact that with Polamalu & Hines Ward – they didn’t send them back in the game after their respective incidents.

    The Penguins, on the other hand, continue to show they just don’t get it. Anyone that saw HBO’s 24-7 got a first hand look at Sid in the locker room after the Steckel hit. They sent him back out there, not only for the 3rd period, but for the next game. 2 concussions in 5 days, something they still don’t admit to. Or Kris Letang after that brutal hit in Montreal. If that was your kid, would you let him back out there ? And now the latest incident with Sid. Finish the game, a full contact practice yesterday, then a trip to the doctor.

    It’s easy to criticize the words these guys use to describe these concussions. But I tend to focus on their actions. And after all that’s happened, as recently as this week, the Penguins still don’t get it.

  17. TheSaltyRogue says:

    DK – I get the impression you say the word “humbug” a lot.

  18. Milo Hamilton says:


    “Does he wanna live downtown.”

    Where is that “Like” button ?

  19. Milo Hamilton says:

    Angels sign Albert Pujols.

    5 teams in the NL Central just got better & 1 just got a whole lot worse.

  20. Jandy says:

    Milo, ~ bingo! I don’t see how they could have sent Tanger back out. Sure he scored the game winner and that was cool. But where is he now? Maybe he said “I’m fine coach, I can play. I passed the quiet room test. let me go out.” But when Troy Palamalu said that, Tomlin said NO. The right call.
    What happens now? Will we lost Tanger for the rest of the season? What about Michalek? And Sid? Heck, our own player (Kunitz) gave him his worst hit of the season.
    The questions go on.

  21. Dan1283 says:

    Pujols to the Angels? WOW! Now get on the phone and throw Joel Hanrahan at them for Mark Trumbo.

  22. Milo Hamilton says:

    Today is like Christmas morning for Pirate fans. We all can’t wait to wake up & see what Neal Claus has left under our Rule 5 tree. This year we got a shiny new Gustavo Nunez, bat not included. A 23 year old shortstop that spent much of last season in A-ball. Sounds like a Pirate to me !

  23. Sarcastic Sword says:

    I have to agree with a few others that beat me to it…The only think Bedard and Maholm have in common is that they are both left-handed. Will take my chances with a cheaper swing and miss guy and hope his last two months of 2011 are an indication he was healthy. One could argue he was the Red Sox best starter over the last 2 months of season. His Seattle numbers are really good from 2011 – 91IP 77H 87K .226 BAA

    Crosby – I said the same thing DK – why no comment yea or nea about symptoms. I did hear Joe Starkey yesterday on his radio show state that he interviewed Crosby yesterday prior to team flight and after practice – Crosby participated in practice and was prepared to fly to Philly…If the IMPACT test was bad or he had symptoms, there is no way he even practices yesterday, So Im thinking this is 100% precautionary although if is symptom free and the IMPACT test was good, why hold him out? Afraid Philly goes after him? Unless they are afraid he might get symptoms a few days after the initial contact with Kunitz.

  24. JAL says:

    Tim Williams at Pirates Prospects on Nunez

    He hit for a .304/.368/.431 line in high-A last year, showing good plate patience. Nunez was the 23rd best prospect in the Detroit farm system heading in to the 2011 season, according to Baseball America. He’s got strong defense at short, and was named the best defensive shortstop in the Florida State League in 2010.

  25. Dan1283 says:

    WE WANT TRUMBO *clap clap clap clap clap*

    Seriously, there is no monetary reason the Pirates can’t go get him. All Neal has to do is let go of one of his precious “assets.” There’s no better player out there for us, a young power-hitting first baseman with years of cost control ahead of him.

  26. Milo Hamilton says:

    Nunez also hit .215 in 121 AB’s at AA Erie.He walked 5 times & had 5 extra base hits. There is a 0% chance he makes the team. Maybe they can make a trade for him.

  27. Drew71 says:


    oh wait…

  28. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Orioles have acquired Dana Eveland from the Dodgers. Dan Duquette was heard muttering something about “an interesting four pitch mix” as he was dragged out of the hotel by men in white coats. Duquette will be played by Herbert Lom in the Moneyball sequel.

  29. aglebagel says:

    Well, it’s too bad Pujols won’t be visiting PNC much anymore. Obviously that’s a good thing for the Pirates, but not for baseball fans in Pittsburgh.

  30. Arriba Wilver says:

    With Maholm’s luck he’ll end up in the American League and still have Pujols crush his stats.

  31. JohninOshkosh says:

    Always entertaining and thought provoking but, holy cats Milo, you are on a roll this morning.

  32. Arriba Wilver says:

    Milo–are you going to go see Chico Lind at Piratefest?

  33. Milo Hamilton says:


    Only if he’s fully clothed.

  34. JoeBucco says:

    It’s about time we had a Gustavo in our organization.

    Buccos select Gustavo Nunez from the Tigers in the Rule 5.

    Seems like a similar hitter to another Nunez we used to have (Abe). Middle infielder, 2B / SS

  35. JoeBucco says:

    Starling for Trumbo?

    How much would you give up? I’d probably do that in a heartbeat.

  36. Jandy says:

    @ Wilver ~ I come here on my bad days, just so Milo can get me going.

  37. Dan1283 says:

    If Gustavo Nunez is anything like Gustavo Fring, I’m all for the move.

  38. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Pirates will never get Mark Trumbo. The elitist sabermetricians hate him.

  39. JohnS says:


    Before or after his last visit to the home?

    Doubtful Nunez sticks but look at how long Ciraco was on the roster last year.

  40. JAL says:

    Gustavo Manduca led his club, Apoel Nicosia , into the final 16 of the Champions League. First Cypriot team to make the knockout round.

  41. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    “Seriously, there is no monetary reason the Pirates can’t go get him. All Neal has to do is let go of one of his precious “assets.” There’s no better player out there for us, a young power-hitting first baseman with years of cost control ahead of him.”

    Though I completely agree with this statement, the Angels are reportedly not shopping either Trumbo or Morales. But….Money talks and………….

  42. Dan1283 says:


    Trumbo to me is the perfect trade chip right now. Yea, they can make room for him, or they can keep him for depth, but their bullpen needs help and he could fetch a great reliever like Hanrahan. Heck they barely have room for Mike Trout!

    They only need one or two pieces to be the leading favorite for World Series favorite. I’d trade a young player to add that piece.

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