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News Roundup: The Rotation, the Minors, Second Base, the Bullpen

-P- Pat adds to my post yesterday about Gene Collier's column. Pat spells out something I only hinted at - that Tom Gorzelanny is not especially similar to Zach Duke and Paul Maholm in the first place.

-P- As Greg Schuler pointed out in the comments, Baseball America has named Andrew McCutchen the top prospect in the South Atlantic League. No other Pirates made it (including Brent Lillibridge and unheralded starter Todd Redmond), even though Hickory was the Pirates' most talented team, but it is a 16-team league. Scouts and managers were "unanimous," though, in agreeing that McCutchen was the top prospect. WTM and others discuss the list here.

-P- Few have yet noticed, but a relatively new blog called The Parrot has been doing a great job keeping up with Pirates news. It's well worth a look if you haven't seen it already.

-P- Here's Dejan Kovacevic's next-to-last chat of the season. The Pirates have already decided that Freddy Sanchez will be the team's second baseman next season, it seems:

I see Sanchez as being the Pirates' second baseman next year, no matter what else plays out. Strong signals have been sent to that effect, so start with that premise.

-P- With three games to go, Salomon Torres is within two games of the Pirates' all-time appearances record.

It's not just Torres who has been working overtime. Check out the leaderboard for appearances by NL pitchers. Torres is first, 23-year-old Matt Capps is third, and Damaso Marte and John Grabow are also in the top 20. This isn't the fault of the Pirates' young starters, either - the Pirates' bullpen ranks only 14th in the majors in innings pitched. The problem is that the bullpen virtually hasn't existed beyond those four guys plus Mike Gonzalez (when he wasn't injured) and Roberto Hernandez (when he wasn't a Met). Next year, the Pirates should trust guys like Jonah Bayliss and Josh Sharpless more, or they may not have someone like Capps to lean on with the game on the line.