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News Roundup: Andy LaRoche Out of Lineup

-P- Andy LaRoche won't be in the starting lineup for tonight's game against the Cardinals. It's far too early to bury LaRoche, but I can't fault John Russell for wanting to give him a night off, and I'm becoming more than a little concerned about LaRoche. He hits in the minors, he hits in Spring Training, and then regular season games begin and he doesn't look like the sort of player who could possibly do either of those things. Maybe it's just two bad games, but it's looked like he picked up where he left off last year.

-P- One of the nicest developments for the hardcore Pirates fan the past few years has been the explosion of available information regarding minor leaguers, what with the newfound attention to the minors in the Post-Gazette's coverage, WTM's awesome Pirate Player Profiles, the addition of up-to-date stats to, splits on, and so on. Well, there's a new addition to the list: Is This Thing On?, a new blog by Indianapolis Indians broadcaster Scott McCauley. Already he's got a huge update on the whereabouts of various former Pirates minor leaguers, a post on his favorite International League ballparks (with pictures), and information about the Indy Indians' roster. 

-P- Speaking of the minors, there definitely seems to be a trend toward the regionalization of farm systems, which makes sense on any number of levels. This article points out that four of the Cleveland Indians' affiliates are now within two hours of Cleveland. The recent changes of affiliation the Pirates have experienced--from Nashville to Indianapolis, from Hickory to West Virginia, and from Williamsport to State College--have all made those teams closer to Pittsburgh.