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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

On location: Phillies 5, Pirates 0, exhibition

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

BRADENTON, Fla. — Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (3-6) vs. Philadelphia Phillies, exhibition

Starters: RHP A.J. Burnett vs. LHP John Lannan

Time: 1:05 p.m.

Site: McKechnie Field


Here is the official live box score.

Here is the TribLIVE’s Pirates page. I’m on the scene.

And here is the home team’s lineup …

  1. Starling Marte, LF
  2. Alex Presley, CF
  3. Travis Snider, RF
  4. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
  5. Russell Martin, DH
  6. Michael McKenry, C
  7. Jared Goedert, 3B
  8. Jordy Mercer, 2B
  9. Chase d’Arnaud, SS

Here’s a podcast of my TribLIVE Radio guest appearance today with Ken Laird, mostly baseball.

UPDATE 5:50 p.m.: My news notebook about today’s events.

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. Drew71 says:

    Somebody complain about the lineup.

    C’mon. Just for fun.

  2. 3 minor leaguers at the bottom and one batting third.

    There, does that satisfy your need?

  3. Jandy says:

    You provide us with plenty of fun, Drew….

  4. Jandy says:

    Good job, Spunky!

  5. Drew71 says:

    Found this, which late yesterday was imbedded in one of my posts from the Astro’s game thread…

    “DK: Drew hates me.”

    No Dejan. I love you like family.

    (But you should ask my wife how that’s working out.)

    DK: Well, next time, tell me where you are, so I can come down and meet you, dammit.

  6. Bizrow says:

    With 3 minor leagures at the bottom, thats pretty much our mid season lineup, isn’t it? ;-)

  7. Bizrow says:

    So did you guys hook up or not?

  8. Jandy says:

    That’s the biggest secret of March. Supposedly there’s a clue at the post office.

  9. Yup, sad to say.

    Bring on Tabata!

  10. DK is going to write a column on it from Bradenton with a video interview with Drewmeister.

    Title: Meeting the Fan Base-A Candid Interview with Drew and Jim Bibby’s Sweat

    You heard it here first.

  11. Arriba Wilver says:

    Hook up? I hope not.

  12. Drew71 says:

    Why do you think I came nak…

    No; even EYE have limits.

  13. Drew71 says:

    But, um, barely

  14. Jandy says:


    Get a room :P

  15. Arriba Wilver says:


  16. Thundercrack says:

    I’m bummed out. I’ll be in Bradenton in 2 weeks. Figures DK will be back in Pittsburgh.
    I would have loved to get together with him.

    I can’t speak for him….not sure he would use the term “love”.

  17. Jandy says:

    Nothing wrong with that term. Meeting people you interact with on line, especially in this type of blog, would be awesome. No shame in the work Love in this case. Just sayin’

  18. He told you the exact seat. You mean you didn’t go?

  19. Jandy says:

    Spunky is on a roll…. ;)

  20. Arriba Wilver says:


  21. Drew told DK the exact place he was sitting. DK was too busy talking hockey with Russell “I’m from Canada and hockey is our national past time” Martin and didn’t go. So no video or column.


  22. 21sthebest says:

    You should go a little north that week TC, and see better baseball.

  23. Drew71 says:

    Dejan, I did. I listed my seat location two posts and eight minutes after your ‘where are you’ post.

    No big deal. You were up in the press box, probably busy cheering on the victory.

  24. Jandy says:

    I wanna file a complaint with the Lunatic’s Union!

  25. Twitter is on the internet and everything on the internet is true. He was chatting up Russell Martin and watching hockey, his second love next to Dali and his children.

  26. Arriba Wilver says:


  27. radio wave says:

    Drew said he was going to post pictures of players butts. Does that mean he was operating the Jandycam?

  28. That Black Hawks game was vitally important, J-girl.


  29. JHadar says:

    Is anyone besides me hoping that Felix Pie makes the team — just for his name’s sake. I know he pronounces in a non-English way, but how can we resist


    A line drive that tails off to the right: a slice of Pie.

    When he admits an error: Pie are square.

    And so on and so on; now if Appel had just signed . . .

  30. JHadar says:

    His two base hit would be a DNA drive, you know a double Felix

  31. Arriba Wilver says:

    Oddly enough, JH, your post has me hoping he doesn’t make the team. And I don’t even know who he is. :-)

  32. Pat4PGH says:


    Love the use of scientific/math terms……

  33. You partial to size 9’s, RW?

  34. Drew71 says:

    I like the Appel combo.

    And if they hired Don Cherry as team tailor…

    Or former Cleveland Brown Weldon Humble…

    Or my all time favorite NBAer, the Chocolate Thunder…

    Alright. This is stoopid. Even for me.

  35. Drew71 says:

    By the way. There were abuncha brushback pitches yesterday, especially by The Stros. Which means either…

    1. They were offering a fond farewell before starting AL play, or
    2. Early spring…control hasn’t yet come around, or
    3. Cold day…hard to grip the ball, or, my guess…
    4. Stro’s pitchers stink

  36. Drew71 says:

    Ok, Arriba. I see your point now. Send him to Altoona.
    (I don’t know why but that sounds funny.)

  37. Drew71 says:

    Too bad his name’s not sammich.

    Cause then his name could be…wait for it…
    Altoona Sammich.

  38. Thundercrack says:

    A few of them were thrown at Cutch.

    You know that what means. Expect more losing in the Spring Training.
    Unless they find a way to bring back that McGeeehee fellow.

  39. 21sthebest says:

    Did we retaliate enough? Hopefully the team’s leadership group will talk about this in a semi-monthly meeting with Hurdle. :-)

  40. Thundercrack says:

    I meant that I’m not sure DK would ‘love’ meeting me.

    I’m a big fan of love. Especially if he has a high OBP, can steal some bases, and play solid defense in the field.

  41. 21sthebest says:

    With my last name, I always thought it would’ve been neat to marry a woman whose first name is Anita.

  42. Thundercrack says:

    Next comes an 18 inning game.

    We’re doomed.

  43. Jandy says:

    The Blackhawks do not play for Pittsburgh…so not that important ;)

  44. Bizrow says:

    Sign a left fielder named Al A. Mode??

  45. Jandy says:

    With your luck, the Blackhawks will be playing hockey at that time…forget about love…

  46. Jandy says:

    ROFL! Yinz guys are killing me! ;)

    Oh Lord, I’m rolling here, my co-workers think I’ve lost it…again…

  47. Jandy says:


  48. Jandy says:

    Quick, someone get Jerry Meals on it!

  49. Jandy says:

    I’m not gonna ask ;X

  50. Jandy says:


  51. Jandy says:

    WOW! Malkin plays tonight versus Tampa Bay…. =)

  52. NMR says:

    Any REAL major league team would be starting Steve MacIntyre today to send a message. Gotta police one another and whatnot.

  53. Thundercrack says:

    Some concussions must heal faster than others.

  54. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Awesome! I wonder if Tyler Kennedy will be on his line…

  55. Jandy says:

    TC I dunno, he passed his ImPACT Test. Can’t get around that. You pass or you fail.

  56. Jandy says:

    Neal and Cookie

  57. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Maybe he used deer velvet vanilla extract to pass.

  58. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I’d like to see Jeffrey, Bennett and Sutter on 3rd line.

  59. Jandy says:

    lol..or vodka ;)

  60. Jandy says:

    I’d like to see Bennett with Sid, barring that, your third line looks good.

  61. Iceman says:

    I was hoping this was the place to come talk some hockey. Just saw Yohe’s post saying that Malkin was playing. Have a couple thoughts regarding tonight’s game (you Pirate people kept getting your baseball into the hockey threads, so here I am threadjacking a Pirate thread):

    1. I’d like to see Bennet moved up to the second line. I’ve been impressed with his play and think he has a chance to thrive setting up Malkin and Neal. Also, I think Cooke’s play fits much better into a third line role.

    2. TK needs a couple games out of the lineup. He was just plain bad in Thursday’s game and Dustin Jeffrey has been playing very well since getting put back into the lineup. I think he would play well alongside Sutter and Cooke.

    3. I think it’s time for the Pens to admit that Despres needs to stay in the lineup. Every game he plays in the NHL he looks more like an NHL defender and I would say that Saturday’s game was his best yet. The upside looks huge with this kid.

    4. Mark Eaton did well in his replacement of Paul Martin on Saturday. He was pretty much un-noticeable in the game and this is what I ask and expect of him. He’s not an offensive threat and he’s not going to make a huge hit, so if we’re not talking about him, he played a fine defensive game.

    Ok, back to your regularly scheduled programing (Buccos talk).

  62. Iceman says:

    I don’t think I want Sid and Bennett on the same line. They are both have the pass first mentality which will lead to both of them passing up good shots to set up each other. Rather have Bennett with the goal scorers of Malkin and Neal.

  63. Iceman says:

    Mama Malkin sent him some magical Borscht.

  64. NMR says:

    Pipe down, people. This is the baseball thread…

    :) :) :)

  65. Jandy says:

    True that…but then I think Sid needs to shoot morE

  66. Jandy says:

    Hey, NMr, bYTE ME! :p

  67. radio wave says:

    Remember pie with the I cubs?

  68. Jandy says:

    Ice, it’s a SPORTS blog, so we talk ALL Sports ;)

    I agree, Bennett needs moved up. And Depres needs to just play, dammit. Keep the kid in the lineup.

    TK…he needs to do something to get his head outta his butt end. Don’t know what’s wrong with him. I’m not one that’s expecting him to score 30 goals, but a goal now and then would be nice. And cut the stupid penalties, please.

  69. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I should clarify- I’d prefer Cooke on 3rd line, but don’t have a problem with him staying on second for a little while.

    I’d like to see Tyler Kennedy in Calgary.

  70. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc says:

    -Glad that baseball is back, less than a month now for Opening Day.

    DK: how’s Florida treating you? If you have a spare 45 minutes, drive south to Venice. The greatest place on earth..

  71. Jandy says:

    Iceman, he makes his own now, he’s a big boy.

  72. NMR says:

    I originally sided with Jandy on Bennet and Sid, but you convinced me.

    Mostly because I think it is a waste to have Matt Cooke play with a guy as skilled as Malkin.

  73. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I know what’s wrong with Kennedy.

    He stinks.

  74. Jason81 says:

    Lines and D-pairings from the morning skate…

    (Bennett, Boychuk)


  75. Iceman says:

    Hard for me to care enough to talk baseball. I have been heartbroken by the Pirates for most of my life and last year was the icing on the cake. I was actually excited about baseball season again, only to have the carpet pulled out from under me once again (and then beat repeatedly with said carpet). Don’t get me wrong, I watch many of the games, love going to the ballpark, and cheer for the Buccos, but at this point, it is so hard for me to get excited anymore…

  76. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    He makes his own vodka?

  77. Iceman says:

    Oh if that stands and Bennett sits and Kennedy plays, I may lose it. I thought Bennett had a great first period in Saturday’s game and he continues to look better with each game. Kennedy just gets worse and needs to be held responsible.

    I’ve not jumped on the “fire DB” bandwagon yet, but if this happens, that bandwagon is looking a whole lot more inviting.

  78. Bizrow says:

    Dejan retweeted a post saying Boychuk has been put on waivers

  79. TJ says:

    With Malkin being activated the Pens will need to make another move to reduce the roster. Perhaps Boychuk is sent packing; or Martin on IR.

  80. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Tyler Kennedy had 5 goals and 31 hits in the 2009 playoffs. He absolutely should be playing.

  81. Jandy says:

    like a dirty sock?

  82. Iceman says:

    I was wondering what would happen with Malkin coming back. Sounds like the Zach Boychuk experiment is now over. It was worth a shot and really nothing lost. I would be surprised if no one else picks him up (When Carolina lost him on waivers, they said they would take him back if Pit ever put him back on waivers. Don’t know if that still stands, but I bet someone takes him).

    Good news is that Bennett stays with the big club and continue to develop into an NHL winger.

  83. Jandy says:

    LOL actually, NMR, anytime Cookie plays with Malkin they do well. Chemistry.

  84. Jandy says:

    Doesn’t surprise me. Carolina will claim him again.

  85. Jandy says:

    sarcasm does NOT become you, Brad :P

  86. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Or some other foul-smelling piece of semi-intimate apparel.

  87. Jandy says:

    Amen on Bennett!

  88. TJ says:

    And perhaps if I had read the previous posts I would have seen this has been answered!

  89. Jandy says:

    it happens lol.

    Now, am I the only one worried about playing the Lightning after they have lost their last 4 games? Seems like we “let up” and get bitten for it.

  90. Jandy says:

    if he did that he wouldn’t play hockey for a living.

  91. TJ says:

    I’m not worried about the lightning. We are our own worse enemy. If we don’t beat ourselves we are in good shape. But if we come out flat like we like to do every other game then we get blown out.

  92. Bizrow says:

    I think we all feel the same pain, Iceman

  93. Arriba Wilver says:

    I did not check this for accuracy, but one of the guys on the Sports Showdown on KDKA last night said the Pens are 12-4 when Despres is in the lineup.

  94. Jandy says:

    if true, that’s amazing.

  95. Jandy says:

    Not Timbuktu???

  96. Jandy says:

    Hey Bowser, where are you???

  97. 21sthebest says:

    It’s true. And his +/- is +8.

  98. JohninOshkosh says:

    News Corp and Rupert Murdoch are likely to challenge ESPN with a national sports network.

    While the competition is most welcomed, be careful what is wished for. And athletes-don’t be saving anything on your cellphone.

  99. JHadar says:

    Only follow them a little bit — mostly as a result of what I hear on WGN when the Bucs play the Cubs. Vaguely recall him as a “can’t miss” prospect.

  100. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    They have a team?!

  101. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Except that he’ll probably be scratched in favor of you know who.

  102. Jandy says:

    Fantastic! So we should play him every game then…someone get the memo to DB

  103. Jandy says:

    Don’t bet on it, Brad. TK is on a short leash.

  104. Nor Cal Stlrfanrc says:

    apparently I can’t ever remember my log in name whenever my computer boots it…I think I’m up to 3-4 now

  105. Jandy says:

    Only one player so far…Kennedy ;)

  106. JHadar says:

    You mean covering things outside of New York and Boston?

    Having actual games on instead of “The View” and “Oprah” for guys?

    I could go for that?

    I actually miss the day when ESPN covered things like Aussie rules football during the day. (Didn’t understand the game all that well, but loved the refs’ gestures)

    I miss the old days of Wide World of Sports, too.

  107. Jandy says:

    LOK welcome “back” :)

  108. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Oh I’m betting it’s a long, long leash. It’s already 1.5 years and growing.

  109. NMR says:

    I’m as hard headed as Danny B. Chemistry schmemistry. :)

  110. Jandy says:

    lol friend, I hear you. But still, when they are put on the same line, they usually do well. Cookie seems to play well with just about anyone. Not a 40+ scorer or anything, but he does well.

  111. Bizrow says:

    Bucs are losing

    We need Drew at the game

  112. SJB says:

    I only get worried if the other team is starting a rookie…”And so-and-so get’s his first NHL goal!” I wonder how many rookies have gotten their first goal against the Pens. Gotta be a lot of them.

    That, or a nobody goalie who the Pens decide to hold a contest against seeing who can hit him in the middle of the chest with the most shots from 10′ out. I like those the most because all the Pens fans can tell us afterwards how the goalie stood on his head. That said; where’s that Halak character these days?

  113. JohnS says:

    If I am the Pens I try to trade Orpik and Kennedy for somebody like Jarome Iginla or Dany Heatley. I know they are both near the end but they won’t bring Orpik back on his next contract and Kennedy is Kennedy.

  114. Drew71 says:

    Anyone following the, um, game?

    DK: Even I’m not doing that.

  115. Drew71 says:

    See? It’s me.


  116. Bizrow says:

    4-0, Phils, AJ lasted 1 1/3 inning

  117. Jandy says:


  118. Jandy says:


  119. SJB says:

    While trading both Orpik and Kennedy sounds good to me, I think to get Iginla they will have to pony up a 1st round pick. I actually have no issue with that, even if it winds up being just for a rental. The Pens will need a big trade for some offense to accomplish anything in these playoffs since they’ll have to outscore everyone 10-9. Defensively there’s nothing they can do at the trade deadline or by the end of this season since it’s not so much a player talent issue on defense, but a game philosophy one. Besides; they’re just gonna burn the 1st round pick on a yet another defenseman anyway…one that will be 3- 5 years away from contributing realistically, since he’ll be a late round pick no doubt.

  120. Iceman says:


  121. JohnS says:

    Not sure Iginla would take that much now. He is 35 and will be an unrestricted FA next year. As you have said Shero only drafts D-men so losing Orpik isn’t that big of a deal. Eaton is back and keep playing Despres and Bortuzzo. Engelland gives you everything that Orpik does plus a little bit more offense.

    The time is now to make the move.

  122. SJB says:

    Yeah, he’s 35 but I’m pretty sure he’s gonna require either a can’t miss prospect, or a 2nd to 1st round pick, combined with an established NHL player to land him. Once teams start throwing offers at Calgary for him, someone will ultimately pay the price to get him, so I don’t think they have to worry about watching him walk next season. The only reason Atlanta didn’t get even more for Hossa, is because at that point in his career, he was considered by many a playoff slacker. Iginla has the veteran leadership, physicality, skill and proven playoff capabilites to put a team over the top. Teams like the Rangers and others who think they are very close would pay top dollar for a player like Iginla.

  123. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Tomas Vokoun in net tonight? I heard he was penciled in back on February 3rd for this one. If not, I’ll be ok as long as Bennett and Despres are healthy scratches, we play an extremely passive box at all times in our own end (why limit the idea to only the PK) and only Chris Kunitz spends more than 15 seconds of the whole game in the crease. That will have us ready for a deep playoff run.

  124. Arriba Wilver says:


  125. TJ says:

    Get it right its GOALkun. Not Vokoun

  126. Iceman says:

    Best! Idea! Ever!

  127. Bizrow says:

    So in the bottom of the 7th, we have more errors (2), than hits (1)

  128. Pucknutz says:

    I am not sure where this reply will end up but ..
    I agree w/Jandy – SHOOT-SID-SHOOT!
    I think I scream that 100 times a game ! LOL

  129. TJ says:

    Spring training is the time to prepare for the regular season. I’d say they are right on track.

  130. Jandy says:

    Pucknuts, I’m with you!

  131. SJB says:


    I hear MAF is a healthy scratch tonight because he’s part of a trade sending him and Bennett to Winnipeg for Tangradi and a cardboard goalie cutout.

  132. Pucknutz says:

    With ya Iceman – I am trying not to even look at anything Pirate related at this point. Love baseball but till the Nut is gone I will try
    to keep my eyes closed.
    Aw heck, I will break down about June or so and start peeking.

  133. TJ says:

    I seriously hate the fact that Cincinnati sports teams look to be in better shape than Pittsburgh teams. Makes me want to puke.

  134. TJ says:

    Despite everything going on in the world I’m just happy to know that after signing that contract this morning that guarantees him 52 million that Joe Flacco feels respected by the Ravens. I will sleep so much better tonight.

  135. TJ says:

    Yankees put Brian Cashman on the DL after breaking his ankle Sky Diving. Steinbrenners looking into wether that violates his contract to possibly void it and not pay him.

  136. Dom says:

    Are you kidding? The Pens are far better than the Cyclones.

  137. TJ says:

    Not when GOALkun is in net.

  138. Dom says:

    Tomáš Vokoun is the man. Sure he’s no Fleury but who is? He’ll get back on track before the season wraps up.

  139. Dom says:

    I don’t think the Yankees are going to make the playoffs or even compete for a spot. They have a ton of dough but haven’t used it wise to say the least. I’m thinking it will be the Nats over the Angels.

  140. TJ says:

    I’ll go with the Nats over the Blue Jays

  141. Dave G says:

    AJ is now 0-3 with a 17.36 ERA this spring.

    The rest of the team is is mid-season form. 1 hit today.

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