By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media
Morning, Lunatics …
>> The Friday column wraps up a rather spirited three-day minicamp by listing three reasons — three athletes, actually — I feel will make the Steelers’ No. 1-ranked defense even better.
Very much look forward to your feedback on this, as well as answers to the following question: Would you start Jarvis Jones right away over Jason Worilds?
>> It was good to see Charlie Morton back on the mound. Big-league players make big money, and Morton’s making $2 million this season, so no one will shed a tear. But that doesn’t change that these Tommy John guys face all kinds of challenges in returning, a lot of them mental.
Besides, I thought he did OK. A little wild, and the Giants had a couple softies, and the velocity wasn’t all there. He can do better.
A handful of other random thoughts from the ballpark: Matt Cain is wonderful to watch. Almost every time. Just a seek-and-destroy mission waiting to happen. … The play in which Pedro Alvarez interfered with the runner was the right call but unfortunate in that Alvarez clearly intended no such thing. The runner being out of the baseline is immaterial if the ump judges that he was out because the fielder forced him to be out. … Mike Zagurski has no business ever putting on a Pittsburgh uniform again. … Starling Marte’s twice had problems in the torso area. If the Pirates’ medical people feel there’s even a chance the incidents are related, he should be shut down immediately. … Michael McKenry can’t throw out a runner to save his life, but don’t look for Tony Sanchez to come up soon. Baseball people who have seen Sanchez in the past week say he’s had a lapse — one would hope it’s temporary — into a case of throwing yips, even getting the ball back to the pitcher. I love the kid and what he’s done at the plate, but he needs to be all together before a promotion.
Unrelated, but here’s a video of Class A hitting prospect Josh Bell that accompanies our report from Charleston, W.Va., by Karen Price …
>> Evgeni Malkin will skate forever for the Penguins. Or at least the next eight years.
This is so right for both parties that it’s hard to even form an opinion on this. But I will share one thought: Never take for granted that both Malkin and Sidney Crosby could be making much, much more if not for a) a commitment to this one franchise and b) an understanding that, to win another Cup, money has to be free for elite teammates.
I know this was a massively disappointing playoff, but don’t lose sight of that.
Here’s some of what Ray Shero had to say about the extension …
Also, and don’t miss this, our Rob Rossi expertly breaks down the Malkin signing timeline.
>> The weekly chat covered a whole lot of stuff, Steelers, Penguins and Pirates.
>> I’m taking some time off, as part of time owed from the Stanley Cup playoff run. That was supposed to happen this week, but I didn’t want to miss covering Gerrit Cole’s debut or the Steelers’ minicamp, which not coincidentally were the past two column topics. Next week, the Pirates are on the road, and there’s nothing else happening locally.
The columns and the blog and everything will be back June 24, or 10 days from now.
In the interim, I’ll keep putting up game threads and daily Vacation Java posts so that this place can remain … whatever it is. I’ll also be doing my level best to otherwise shut down. Today, it’s Kennywood with the family. Tomorrow, it’s Riverhounds with the family. Sunday, it’ll be something else with the family.
Be good, and thank you so, so much for being part of our little world here.