BRADENTON, Fla. – Brief and to the Point …
>> My Wednesday column is about the Pirates’ pitch-perfect prioritizing of elite pitching.
All I’ll add here is a little extra oomph to my paragraph in there about how big all these guys are. Can’t stress this enough: Used to be you’d walk through minor-league camp, and all the pitchers looked like a young Brian Burres, small and thin. Now, it’s like watching the linebackers walk around in Latrobe. They don’t look like they’re there to face hitters. They look like they’re there to eat hitters.
Neal Huntington and his staff long have sought bigger bodies, believing it’s a path to better velocity and durability. It might or might not work, but it’s certainly in full effect.
>> Raise your hand if you had Sidney Crosby returning on a line with Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy.
Yeah, me neither.
I see what Dan Bylsma’s doing — forcibly limiting Crosby’s minutes as he returns with three road games in four days — and appreciate it. But I liked even better that Bylsma allowed that Crosby and Jordan Staal could skate together before long.
>> The opening of NFL free agency brought an expected nothing for the Steelers — no money means no money — but there was at least one powerful message: When the Bucs signed free-agent wide receiver Vincent Jackson to a five-year, $55.5 million contract, it essentially set the bar for what Mike Wallace might expect if/when he hits the open market.
In other words, that’s the price. The Steelers don’t have to come up with it now, but they will next year.
Would you pay that?
I’ll let you go first, then chime in tomorrow.
In the meantime, Willie Gay wants to stay.
>> Down goes Wofford! Tonight! Print it, bay-beeeeee!