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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Final: Pirates 3, Blue Jays 1


Looking ahead to the final first pitch in Florida this spring …

Game: Pirates (8-18-2) vs. Toronto Blue Jays, Grapefruit League

Time: 1:05 p.m.

Site: Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, Dunedin, Fla.


Here is the live box score. Rob Biertempfel is headed home tonight, Karen Price will pick up the coverage with the two exhibitions in Philly, and all hands will be on deck for Opening Day.

And here is the Pirates’ lineup …

  1. Alex Presley, LF
  2. Jose Tabata, RF
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Neil Walker, 2B
  5. Garrett Jones, 1B
  6. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  7. Clint Barmes, SS
  8. Michael McKenry, C
  9. Jeff Karstens, RHP

UPDATE 11:10 a.m.: Daniel McCutchen and Brad Lincoln get sent out.


  1. John Lease says:

    Still time for Alvarez to be sent to AAA….

  2. Bizrow says:

    Its been a while

    Dejan’s Lunatic Nation – at the Trib,
    Arizona – Tucson, Chandler
    Arkansas – Rogers
    Austrailia – Mackay
    California – Bakersfield, San Francisco, UNION CITY, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Hollywood, Huntington Beach, Yuba
    Colorado – Ft Collins, Estes Park, Denver
    Connecticut – Cos Cob, Bridgeport, Wallingford
    Costa Rica
    Delaware. Newark
    District of Columbia
    Florida – Palm Harbor, Orlando, Valrico, Gainesville, Daytona Beach, Oviedo, Tampa, Jacksonville, Sarasota
    Georgia – Marietta, Atlanta
    Germany – Leverkusen/Cologne
    Hawaii – Honolulu
    Idaho – Mountain Home, Coer d’Aline
    Indiana – Indianapolis, Burns Harbor
    Iowa – Bettendorf
    Illinois – La Salle, Peru, Payson, Chicago, Palatine (3 inmates there), Lincoln Park, Grayslake
    Japan – Tokyo
    Kentucky – Louisville, Bowling Green
    Louisiana – Slidell
    Maryland – Arnold, Odenton, Severn, Baltimore, Waldorf
    Massachusetts – Boston
    Michigan – Kalamazoo, Eaton Rapids, Lansing
    Mississippi – Biloxi
    Nebraska – Omaha
    New Hampshire – Barrington
    New Jersey – Chesterfield, Princeton, Roxbury, Lebanon
    New York – New York, Smithtown
    North Carolina – Asheville, Hickory, Charlotte, Raleigh, Charleston
    North Dakota
    Ohio – Cincinnati, Columbiana, Westerville, Green, Hilliard, Toledo, Louisville, Columbus, Perrysburg, Pickerington, Youngstown, Cleveland, Olmsted Township, Liberty Township
    Pennsylvania – Downtown, Hopewell, Indiana, North Wales, Franklin Park, Forest Hills, Lansdale, Philadelphia, DuBois, Reading, Crafton, Arnold, Wexford, Mt Lebanon, Canonsburg, Lancaster, Huntington, York, Boiling Springs, Philly suburbs, Morningside, Harrisburg, Lawrenceville, Bradfordwoods, Norristown, Hanover, Clearfield, Sewickley, DuBois, Plum Boro, Slippery Rock, Wilks-Barre, Sharpsville, Bessemer, Greensburg, Washington, Imperial, South Side, Duncansville, Newville, Sheppton, Grove City, Butler
    The Phillipines
    South Carolina – Duncan, Longs, Columbia
    Tennessee – Smithville, Nashville
    Texas – Tyler, San Antonio, Belton
    Vermont – North Bennington
    Virginia – JAL, Hampton, Rescue, Richmond, Front Royal, Woodbridge, Suffolk, Warrenton, Springfield, Virginia Beach
    Washington – Seattle, Nine Mile Falls, Spokane, Sammamish
    West Virginia – Martinsburg, Morgantown
    Wisconsin – Madison, Oshkosh, Hortonville

    159 locations represented in the blog,
    4/1/2012 12:04 PM

    Just post a hey from where you are currently residing

  3. JoeBucco says:

    Looks like a lineup we could see many times this year, and close to what we will see on Opening Day (swap Fort for Barajas). Game is televised on Toronto’s feed for those with subscriptions.

  4. Curt says:

    Looks like the opening day lineup.

    Its been a while since I have stated this… Free Matt Hague. Hague2012.

    Seriously this guy deserves to be on the ballclub and starting a couple times a week or possibly everyday.

    Lets Go Bucs!

  5. RobertoForever says:


    I posted some feedback on your blog from a few days ago on the look of the new blog and website.

    Hope you are still checking for that.

    Thanks for the opportunity to help design it.

    DK: I did. Already replied!

  6. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Free the Hague!

  7. radio wave says:

    With these demotions this morning, how many are left in camp?

  8. radio wave says:

    Interesting comment on sirius/xm radio mlb preview:
    With the expanded playoffs, and so many teams thinking they are still in it, the trade deadline market will be bogged down.
    What do you think?

  9. @Radio, I think there are 28 left in camp.

  10. LuckyNKentucky says:

    The guy needs to make the team AND be in the lineup.

    Free the Hague!

  11. T.S. says:

    The novelty of the Pirates “feel good, do good” signing of Cutch has worn off.

    If Huntington still insists on going with PedNO Alvarez at the start of the season — thus taking time away from Matt six-homerun Hague — then my level of respect for Neal will go back to how I thought of him pre big money signing. If the PBC wants to save face, make the right move and send Alvarez down.

  12. RobertoForever says:

    I laughed out loud when I saw the 9th inning HR by Matt Hague.

    Full disclosure – I love Matt Hague. At a road game for the Indy Indians last year, he got my attention and threw me a ball in the stands, and I wasn’t even looking for one. I guess he appreciated the Pirate support on the road (only Pirate fan in the crowd).

    But today’s HR highlights the flaw in stumping for Hague for the starting 1b job in Pittsburgh. Today’s HR came in the 9th, in a non-pressure situation, in a pinch-hitting role, against Hoey, a spare parts relief pitcher with a career 7.02 ERA and a career 1.847 WHIP

    If the team is committed to giving PA a lot of starts and AB’s (and there is plenty of room for debate for what to do about PA), then there is no room for extra AB’s for Hague. Hague is not better than Garrett Jones. If you look at Jones minor league success, he had more power and for a longer time at Triple-A than Hague, as well as some power and success at the MLB level.

    While it would be nice to reward Hague with a spot on the major league bench (and a $300k raise), it might be better for Matt to be the everyday 1b in Indy (and play some at 3b there to increase his playing time options once he gets to the majors). Then when there is an injury, or if PA flames out by June 1st, Matt Hague will be ready to come in and prove his worth.

    When Matt Hague finally does get a starting job with the Pirates, I will be right there in the “front row” cheering for Hague to be a breakout player helping us to break the streak.

    Just my .02

  13. cosmo says:

    @ Roberto

    agree with you about sending Hague to indy even though he deserves a spot on the roster, he needs to play everyday. He won’t get the chance on the big club with
    Jones, Megee and K’dro in front of him. Wait till trade deadline to bring him up after one of the aforementioned players have been traded.

  14. T.S. says:


    You make an interesting case, but I’ll respectfully disagree with you.

    The fact that Hague hit a homerun off a jabroni makes it even more evident that he’s doing one of the things a major leaguer should do: crush a bad pitch by a below-average pitcher.

    Second, with regard to Garrett Jones, minor leagues stats are exactly that, minor league stats. The guy has had — what is it now? — two-plus seasons to consistently prove he’s an inconsistent major league power hitter. Let’s stop pretending he walks on water. On the flipside, Hague has barely had so much as a sniff at playing in the majors. By showing up this spring and raking against all comers, he’s proven he deserves a shot at 1B, or hell, even 3B (no worse than Alvarez defensively). To me, this partially reeks of the (original) evaluation of Neil Walker as nothing but a super utility infielder, Part II. Let’s face it, the PBC hasn’t ever regarded Hague as an everyday player.

    Third, to your point about “when Hague finally does get a starting job with the Pirates.” That’s a huge game of “what if” when at present he “absolutely should be.” There’s no time but the present. He’s got nothing left to prove in Triple A. You want him to be a breakout player who helps the Pirates stop the streak? It’s going on 20 years, man. The time is now, not June 1st or next year. We’ve been force fed that garbage long enough.

    And third, there’s the ever-present bandying about of accountability / performance, But we know all too well, there’s no such thing as either of those on this team. It’s a matter of who got the free agent dollars (read: Casey McGhee); that’s who will play. Not Hague, who deserves to play. That would be too much of a no brainer.

    And that’s the bottom line.

  15. T.S. says:

    Results beat potential, every time.

  16. Curt says:

    Matt Hague most certainly deserves to be on the team. He should be starting a couple times a week easily. What is the holdup or the organization’s hold up?

    Really what do they have to lose? If he struggles then send him down. Show the guys on the team that results and working hard pays off like T.S. stated before me.

    Whats the worst that could happen, he struggles. If my memory serves me, have the Pirates had a 1B succeed and hit consistently? Seems like that’s been a major void on this team for a long time. Other than Jeff Clement. LOL.

    Free Matt Hague!

  17. RobertoForever says:

    with respect to Garrett Jones, I don’t think anyone is saying he is Albert Pujols.

    However, last year, the Pirates had him shoe-horned in RF, while his true position is 1B. Right after the Pirates traded Diaz (which was 20+ days after trading Overbay), Clint Hurdle publicly came out and said that Garrett was going to play everyday as the Pirates 1B.

    Garrett Jones, like many ML players, plays much better when he comes to his workplace knowing what is expected of him everyday, and what he can focus on.

    Prior to that statement, Jones started only about 2/3rds of the games and did not play his natural position (1B) until June 16th, (2 1/2 months into the season).

    In August, Jones started 28 of the games. His BA went up from .233 to a high of .255, his SLG went from essentially a season low of .404 to a high of .457 (the highest level since mid-May). He had a season high of 5 HR’s for the month.

    See the stats for yourself at this link

    In Sept, Jones only started 11 games and his stats all dropped off a cliff.

    Again, Jones is no Pujols. But I, for one, would love to see what 3 months of Jones as regular starter at 1B would produce. Based on the 1 month it occured last season, it would look like 25 HR’s, 80 RBI’s, .285 BA and .908 OPS. Better than projecting ST stats, IMHO

    DK: The larger concern with Jones remains his splits. He just doesn’t hit lefties.

  18. RobertoForever says:

    And T.S. and Curt,

    I enjoyed the respectful disagreement. Both of you have valid ideas that may or may not work out. Much as Jones as everyday 1B may not work out.

    Isn’t it fun to play armchair GM? Whatever the ideas, I will root for the decisions that Hurdle makes. Jones, McGehee or Hague, I will root for the Buccos 1B. Maybe the FO will again make some moves to try to address holes at the trade deadline.

  19. Buckeyehba says:

    Biz….. I am surprised to see Cranberry Township is not listed. Put me down for there.

  20. JuniataKid says:


    Crafton here.

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