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Morning Java: Catcher chaos

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column is about a young, five-tool Dominican outfielder who has a very bright future with the Pirates.

No, not Gregory Polanco, though here’s a bit from Neal Huntington on that topic:

The Brewers took the rubber game, and the result was wacky enough to send the Pirates to the rubber room. Rob Biertempfel has the game story.

Another negative to the rotation saga: Gerrit Cole to the DL, by Travis Sawchik.

One positive: A fine return for Jeff Locke:

Josh Harrison could help Polanco and many others, by Sawchik.

Charlie Morton, tonight’s pitcher, is plunking at an historic rate, by David Golebiewski.

A Rule 5 pick faring well in Altoona, by Bob Cohn.

Blogginess from the scene: After the game, the Brewers’ Jonathan Lucroy said publicly that the controversial called third strike on Russell Martin was, in fact, not a strike. Yeah, here’s betting every ump in baseball won’t take notice of Ed Hickox being shown up like that. Deserved or not — and I’m sure there are some fans who will love it — that’s considered terrible form within the sport. … Martin didn’t exactly do himself any favors with the hystrionics after the call, throwing his bat and helmet like a six-year-old who’s had his Tonka trucks confiscated. … Yes, it’s a third strike. Yes, again, fans love these kinds of displays. But they aren’t productive. … Loved Locke’s outing. Everything about it, but especially that he faced 15 batters on three or fewer pitches. “I just wanted to go right at people,” he told me as part of our long talk after the game. “That’s what got me here, and that’s what will keep me here.” Only a W could have brought a more uplifting outcome for the Pirates on this day. … Everyone in baseball needs to take a deep breath and figure what in the blue hell is going on with blocking the plate. … Tony Watson pitched a 19th consecutive scoreless appearance. That’s outstanding, no matter the inning involved. … For years, I’ve been complaining how lax PNC Park is about kicking out fans who interfere with balls in play. I’d always imagined nothing would be done until it cost the Pirates a game. I’m not sure it cost this game — Lucroy would have had second either way — but let’s hope it at least brings the right result. … How about 35,002 on a Sunday? Again, those have been the biggest upticks in attendance. That used to be a slam-dunk 24,000, most of it children in groups.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page, our Bucco Blog and our photo gallery.

Here’s Brewers news from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Here’s Cubs news from the Chicago Tribune.

Here are official game highlights on

>> The three-man team that will work under and learn from Jim Rutherford, the Penguins’ new GM — Bill Guerin, Tom Fitzgerald and Jason Botterill — is detailed in this piece by beat man Rob Rossi.

An obit on super-fan Cy Clark, by Bill Vidonic. Mr. Clark will be missed. A good man, a longtime acquaintance and a vital part of the experience of supporting the Penguins.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page and our Chipped Ice blog.

Here are official Stanley Cup final highlights on
>> The Steelers say yes to a no-huddle sequel, by Mark Kaboly.

Some good stuff on all-over-creation defensive lineman Cam Thomas, too, by Kaboly.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Steelers page and our Steel Mill blog.

>> Big trouble on the Bluff: Two Duquesne players arrested, by Carl Prine. And where it happened won’t surprise you at all, if you know about the university’s shameless bids to shove students onto the South Side rather than upgrading the campus.

>> Check out WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word page for highlights of last night’s episode in which I joined Robinson, Rossi and Bill Phillips for discussion on the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers.

>> I’ll check in with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m. Much, much earlier, I’ll be part of WDVE-FM’s Morning Show at 7:15 a.m.

>> Thank you, as always, for reading.

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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.

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