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Link Roundup

-P- There's a new Pirates blog in the house - it's called Bucco Wire. As with so many new Pirates blogs, this one has a lot of promise - let's hope the insanity of following this team doesn't drive these guys crazy.

-P- CBS Sportsline has a good article about the Pirates up. I don't agree with all of it - certainly not with the part where Jim Tracy is described as the right manager for this team - but it's fun to read and, for a writer who doesn't follow the Pirates, even pretty insightful. Funny passage:

In the January before his 2005 breakout season, I interviewed [Jason] Bay about a bunch of Pirates-related stuff. He mostly stuck to the script -- we've got a young team, it's a great bunch of guys, blah blah blah -- but an interesting moment passed when we discussed the upcoming season.

Asked about then manager Lloyd McClendon's strengths as a skipper, he noted how well McClendon worked with young players. When I wondered why, then, the Pirates were so keen on signing fork-in-back retreads like [Benito] Santiago, Bay mumbled something about "veteran leadership." His words said one thing; the look on his face said, "Yeah, I'm screwed." That a budding star exhibited considerably more enthusiasm when talking about his fantasy football team (Matt Hasselbeck had done quite well by him in 2004) than when discussing his real-world team ... well, that tells you everything you need to know about toiling away for the Pirates of Pittsburgh.

-P- Here's a profile of new State College Spikes manager Turner Ward. Former White Sox, Dodgers and Devil Rays pitcher Wilson Alvarez will be the team's pitching coach.

-P- I'm a little bit late on this, but the Yankees paid $26 million to negotiate with Japanese pitcher Kei Igawa. Igawa is impressive statistically, but, from the article, David Wright doesn't think too highly of him:

"I just don't know," Wright told Newsday. "I'd have to see him when he's in midseason form. You send a guy up there after a month layoff and you can't get a handle on a guy. But as far as a lefty goes, he has a sneaky fastball. I thought he threw, for a lefty, an average to above-average fastball, an above-average changeup, and his slider was a little flat. But with a month off, who knows? Could be any number of reasons."

-P- The Brewers have signed Craig Counsell to a two-year deal for $6 million.