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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

On location: Orioles 6, Pirates 5, exhibition

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

SARASOTA, Fla. — Looking ahead to first pitch …

Games: Pirates (2-3) vs. Baltimore Orioles, exhibition

Starters: RHP James McDonald vs. RHP Jason Hammel

Time: 1:05 p.m.

Site: Ed Smith Stadium


Here is the official live box score.

Here is the TribLIVE’s Pirates page.

And here is today’s lineup for Pittsburgh …

  1. Starling Marte, LF
  2. Chase d’Arnaud, SS
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
  5. Travis Snider, RF
  6. Brad Hawpe, DH
  7. Michael McKenry, C
  8. Jared Goedert, 3B
  9. Ivan De Jesus, 2B

UPDATE 4:20 p.m.: Some stuff from after the game …

McDonald gave up three home runs in as many innings. He allowed a staff-high 21 home runs last season, so this would appear to be a red flag, even this early in the spring. But he downplayed it.

Here’s video of some of my talk with J-Mac …

Brian Roberts, Nolan Reimold and Wilson Betemit homered off him.

“James might have wanted to get a couple of those down lower, but that’s a good hitting team and they’re over there knowing fastballs are coming,” Clint Hurdle said.

Sanchez homered to deep left in the fourth, then outdid that with a towering blast to left-center in the sixth. He’s off to a 4-for-8 start on the spring.

“I feel healthier than I’ve been in two years,” Sanchez said. “I’m getting some pretty good drive from my legs.”

Travis Snider went 3 for 4, but nothing was hit remotely hard.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. TK says:

    I realize that the Pirates need to see everyone play, but outside of Marte and McCuthen, this is a line-up that will strike fear into the hearts of…no one.

    Really, a middle of the line-up of Sanchez, Snider and Hawpe?

    And does Jared Goedert really have a chance of doing anything for the Pirates this year?

    It’s line-ups like this that make me realize how much sports writers must really love baseball to watch it during spring training.

  2. Now, look at all the speed in the top 3 spots.

    And they all have nice teeth.

    Can’t wait for Drew to be sarcastic forever. He must be in an important meeting.

  3. Jandy says:

    Either that or his wife did something to the car again…

  4. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    I feel like I should post something here…..

  5. gregenstein says:

    “I realize that the Pirates need to see everyone play, but outside of Marte and McCuthen, this is a line-up that will strike fear into the hearts of…no one.”
    The “Hated” Manatees I think would be shaking in their spikes! :-)

  6. Guys, chat pushed back to 1 p.m. I’ve got an interview to conduct here in Sarasota at the noon hour that can’t be moved. Thanks!

  7. That would be the more likely of the two.

  8. Over/under on how many walks the Bucs give up today would be good.

  9. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    I just can’t get into the whole pre-season thing. The Window does plan a major announcement in the near future though.

    Maybe I’ll save it for an upcoming DK Radio show……

    How’s that for a teaser?

  10. Jandy says:

    That’s ok Boss, we’ll wait for ya ;)

  11. NMR says:

    Split squad today, TK.


    against the Sox tonight.

  12. Nate83 says:

    Split squad game. The rest of the starters (Jones, Alverez, Walker, etc……) are all in the starting lineup for a game against the Red Sox tonight. They will send the Goedert’s of the world down very soon. Sometimes it’s not good for your big bats to play a lot early. They are facing a lot of pitching that is just working on one thing. You may see a pitcher throw 15 straight fastballs because he is purely working on locating his fastball. They get their work in daily even if they are not playing so it’s not a big deal early in spring training.

  13. TCB says:

    I really want to see Travis Snider succeed but he struck out again today. – counting yesterday that is 4 K’s in a row. Disturbing. to me.

  14. Jandy says:

    Oh man, I love this:

    Comment From Andrew from Long Island
    Biggest Pirate need?

    Dejan Kovacevic:
    A new front office. Nothing else comes close for second place.

  15. NMR says:

    What a shocker.

  16. JohninOshkosh says:

    Tonight’s Pirates split game will be televised on MLB network.

  17. Jandy says:

    ahhhh NMR, you forgot your ;)

  18. Milo Hamilton says:

    If 4 strikeouts in a row in Spring Training is disturbing, I can only imagine how you’d describe something that actually matters.

  19. NMR says:

    Like 1 homerun in 138 AB’s?

  20. NMR says:

    Unfortunately, I didn’t. Getting tired of listening to this broken record.

  21. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m hoping to run into him when I’m down there. Maybe he could regale me with the story of the homerun from his unique perspective. I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about it.

  22. JohninOshkosh says:

    So, any of you lunatics staying up all night tonight to watch early pool play in the WBC?

    MLB Network is doing their darndest to make us care.

  23. Milo Hamilton says:

    So Mrs. Lincoln, other than the 3 homers how did you enjoy J-Mac’s outing ?

  24. Milo Hamilton says:

    Snider with a line single to right. The streak is over !

  25. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’m sure you can find him at McDonalds.

  26. TCB says:

    I found it disturbing.

  27. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m going to grill steaks one night & see if I can get him to come over.

  28. Bizrow says:

    Just a comment here, Dejan also mentioned that there were scouts making fun of the FO

    So it does not just appear to be his opinion?

    Those thoughts come from quite a few places, or so it seems

  29. Milo Hamilton says:


  30. Bizrow says:

    Right now, except for AJ and Wandy, it seems as though our starting staff continues to consist of those two and many ???????????????

  31. Jandy says:

    zactly! So the broken record will continue…

  32. NMR says:

    Why read him then?


    If it is the same thing over and over, what is the point?

  33. NMR says:

    Bacon with a side of bacon should do the trick.

  34. I don’t know about ya’all, but I haven’t felt good about J-Mac in a long time. Even before today’s homerfest.

    Just to expect him to bounce back from that mess the last half of last season with no shaken confidence is a lot to be optimistic about.

  35. Drew71 says:

    Guys? GUYS?

    Jandy? Karen? Me?

  36. NMR says:

    If Charlie could rebound from being sent to the slaughterhouse in 2010 then any pitcher can.

  37. Drew71 says:

    Crap. Nothing to complain about now.

    I’ll come up with something.

  38. NMR says:

    Only the Canadians. Morneau is treating this thing like the ’80 Winter Olympics.

  39. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Charlie always had the full and unfettered support of front office and Pirates paid media.

    J-Mac was blamed by that same front office and Pirates paid media for the collapse.

  40. True. That’s when he developed his Roy Halladay sinker. J-Mac still seems to be suffering the effects. Hope to be wrong on that.

  41. 21sthebest says:

    I didn’t read that like he said they were making fun of the front office at all.

  42. Milo Hamilton says:

    2 solo homers for Gaby Sanchez today.

  43. NMR says:

    The Front Office has Rasputin-like mind control according to some fans. Unbelievable.

    Will everyone change thier mind in Jmacs next spring training outing when he doesn’t allow a run?


  44. NMR says:

    Clearly due to Front Office moral support.

  45. 21sthebest says:

    Charlie also had his mechanics overhauled.

  46. 21sthebest says:

    + beaucoup

  47. Milo Hamilton says:

    You know, Casey McGehee would be 0 for 3 but that clubhouse would be a whole lot happier.

  48. Drew71 says:

    Just drove by Steinbrenner (Legend) Field. There’s a blimp floating around over it.

    Spring Training.

    A blimp.

  49. Milo Hamilton says:

    Sure that wasn’t Hank Steinbrenner ?

  50. Milo Hamilton says:

    Just leaving Mons Venus ?

  51. Nate83 says:

    I read an article a few weeks back that said Gaby feels healthy for the first time in over two years. 2 home runs in spring training hardly qualifies as a rebound but it is a good sign. He has a nice glove at first as well. It would be nice to have the option of moving Jones to right if Tabata and Snider both struggle. If some of Gaby’s power returns that would be a pretty decent middle of the line up with Walker, Cutch, Jones, Alverez and Gaby.

  52. NMR says:

    Did you know that only nine working blimps exist in the entire United States of America?

  53. Bizrow says:

    Its never too early to start worrying

    And its not just JMac, Kartsy is behind schedule, Liriano as well

    Above two are not the FO’s fault, so don’t think I’m raggin on them

    The rotation is full of questionmarks right now, JMac’s start today, and yes, its spring training, does not give me a warm fuzzy

  54. JohninOshkosh says:

    Glad to see you here, Drew. I was worried you might have been that poor soul sucked into the sinkhole while he was sleeping.

  55. Jandy says:

    And the wanderer returns…you tell ‘im Drew dahling!

  56. Jandy says:

    I have faith in you!

  57. Jandy says:

    YIKES! I saw that Osh Kosh!

  58. Jandy says:

    RIP Bonnie Franklin. Only 69 :(
    Pancreatic cancer complications.

  59. Drew71 says:

    He’s not as floatie as he used to be.

  60. Drew71 says:

    Yes. Dropped of the wife for work.

  61. 21sthebest says:

    I just don’t take anything away from spring training results and the only thing I worry about is if a player gets injured that might impact the season. Paul Maholm’s ERA right now is almost 10 and Clayton Kershaw’s is over 7. And Brad Lincoln’s is 21.60.

  62. 21sthebest says:

    I grew up with that show. Rest in Peace.

  63. Drew71 says:

    Did you know there are 13,123 Starbucks locations in the US?

    Did you know that a typical hive holds 30,000 bees,

    Did you know that since 1980, the percentage of men with facial hair has increased from 19 to 36%?

  64. Bizrow says:

    Good point 21, sometimes folks have horrible springs and are lights out to start the season, and sometimes vice versa.

    JMac needs to have his head on right though, thats one reason this disturbss me though

  65. Drew71 says:

    I use this stuff in Mons Venus.

    Chicks dig big statistics.

  66. NMR says:

    Drews giving random facts. Jandy’s giving eulogies.

    Milo is cursing both of you for stealing his gig. ;0

  67. JohninOshkosh says:

    Amazingly, she died before Mackenzie Phillips. RIP

  68. Drew71 says:

    My wife’s trying to figure out how to sinkhole just half a bed.

  69. Agreed. It is ST, but I didn’t feel good about him before today. But what do I know, like Maz says.

    Maybe he can get some tape of Roy Halladay, too.

  70. NMR says:

    We’re not even talking about poor spring trainings.

    We’re talking about the FIRST WEEK of spring training.

    Most of these guys aren’t even pitching at game speed yet.

    Take a deep breath. It’s a long season.

  71. Whose?

    Now, you have to admit, you set yourself up for that.

  72. NMR says:

    Did you know that the Japanese word for “chemistry” is pronounced “kay-see”?

  73. No walks today, BTW.

  74. A clutch hit for Presley to tie the score in the top of the 9th and Mercer is thrown out at the plate. Must have been scortched with 2 out. I thought Mercer could move a little.

  75. 21sthebest says:

    AJ said he threw his first curveball of the spring yesterday.

  76. As I said twice before, I have concerns about J-Mac. Nothing to do with ST or how many curves AJ has thrown.

    Hope I’m wrong.

  77. NMR says:

    Can we pleeeeaaaase blame this on Nick Leyva?! Please?!

  78. HA!

    Where is bob hasis, anyway?

  79. NMR says:

    If he gets back to what he put up his first two years he’ll be as steal as the full time first baseman.

    GIJ is gone next year, regardless. My opinion, of course.

  80. NMR says:

    If this doesn’t bring him out then I fear the worst!

    Sorry about that exchange above about Jmac, by the way. Got our wires crossed. I’d respond to you up there but I despise the tiny reply boxes.

  81. Nothing to be sorry about. I have that feeling of concern. But, thank God, I’ve been wrong before.

  82. NMR says:

    And I think next year will be the real test for Gaby, not this year. Barring injury, he’ll be facing almost exclusively lefties as GIJ’s platoon mate. He’s always mashed lefties.

    I’ll temper my optomism until he produces in a full time role.

  83. JimBibbySweat says:

    The most impressive Pirates at-bats, IMO, was Gregory Polanco’s. Scorched a foul ball liner down the right field line and then blooped a single into left. Travis Snider picked off twice on the bases and didn’t move out of the way of a foul while standing at the top of the dugout McKenry went for. Even James McDonald’s outs were hard hit. Gaby’s dingers were impressive as one came off a righty and the other a lefty. Brad Hawpe struck out against lefty Hendrickson and hasn’t done much this spring. Figure he’ll be an easy cut.

    DK: Welcome home, Bibby!

  84. Karen22 says:


  85. Karen22 says:


  86. Karen22 says:

    Oh, man, that’s very sad…

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