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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Impressions from PedroFest … er, PirateFest

Some odds and ends from the Pirates’ annual media luncheon that leads into PirateFest …

>> First, here are all the details of the weekend for you and yours. The thing to know is that the event space will be much larger, so those typically eternal lines for games and autographs should be shorter.

>> A source tells me the Pirates are in talks with recently non-tendered left-handed starter Jo-Jo Reyes. It would be a minor-league contract. Here is a breakdown of Reyes. I wouldn’t get all up in arms when you look at his stats. The team has challenged Brad Lincoln to come into spring training ready to make the team, and he sounds like that’s OK with him: “I take it as motivation. It gets me going.”

>> Most of the attention went to Pedro Alvarez, who in addition to a really bad haircut — “I lost a bet,” he said — looked to be in great shape. You could even see it in his face, which looked thinner.

“I’m working hard, and I’m doing my best,” he said.

>> There has been no progress between on long-term contracts with Andrew McCutchen or Neil Walker.

>> Clint Hurdle has challenged James McDonald to throw “multiple complete games” in 2012. Given McDonald’s inability to get much past the sixth, it’s a big challenge, too.

“I can do it,” McDonald said.

>> Players were delighted that the bullpen was kept intact. All seemed aware that this was new for Neal Huntington, and they seemed to appreciate it.

“Get through six innings, and we’ll take it home,” Chris Resop said. “Especially getting Evan Meek back, it’s going to be really strong.”

Resop then motioned to McDonald, standing on the other side of me.

“That’s you, man. We need you. Take us deep into the game.”

McDonald nodded.

>> If you missed it, this was my Friday column on the Pirates’ blah offseason.

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