Pirates Notebook: Most players numb to 17-year streak

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When the Pirates record their historic 82nd loss, the one that will clinch the professional sports record with a 17th consecutive losing season, expect the actual participants to be mostly unmoved.

Not that they will enjoy losing.

Rather, given the massive recent turnover on the roster, it is impossible to expect many of them to have any feel for the scope of this most dubious achievement.

"Honestly, I don't think about it," first baseman Steve Pearce said. "Really, I can't think of one time I've thought about it. I'm sure the fans think about it more than we do because this keeps on happening and they're waiting for us to turn it around."

Outfielder Garrett Jones apparently has thought about it even less: When it was mentioned to Jones that some national media had visited Pittsburgh in the past week -- the New York Times has a datelined piece on the streak in this morning's editions -- he thought it was a reference to the upcoming G-20 Summit.

Perhaps the one who best relates is newly recalled third baseman Neil Walker, the Pine-Richland High School product.

"It's hard to believe it's been 17 years, and I know that because I'm one of the fans, too," Walker said. "But I think this can be the group that turns it around. There's a lot of talent here, and there's more coming."

Top prospects promoted

The Pirates promoted two of their top prospects, catcher Tony Sanchez and outfielder Starling Marte, to high Class A Lynchburg so they can participate in the upcoming Carolina League playoffs.

Each had been with low Class A West Virginia. Lynchburg, the Pirates' only affiliate in the playoffs, begins postseason play Wednesday.

Sanchez, 21, was the Pirates' first-round draft pick. He batted .316 for the Power, with seven home runs and 46 RBIs in 41 games.

Marte, 20, a Latin American amateur signing, batted .312 with three home runs, 34 RBIs and 24 steals.

Cardinals the best?

Is high-flying St. Louis the class of the National League?

"It's going to be a good postseason," Pirates manager John Russell replied to that question. "All of the top teams have pitching and defense. St. Louis probably has the best pitching and they have some power, with the bolstered lineup. The rotation has three guys that can beat you every night, and that might be the biggest thing. St. Louis is probably the most well-rounded team I've seen."

Buried treasure

• Struggling starter Charlie Morton, pushed back in the rotation by a couple of days until next weekend, spent extensive time in a flat-ground throwing session with bullpen coach Luis Dorante, working on consistent mechanics.

• Top prospect Pedro Alvarez was named the Class AA Eastern League's player of the month for August, having batted .368 with seven home runs, 20 RBIs and a .485 on-base percentage for Altoona.

• Tim Repas, the Cardinals fan and retired Buffalo teacher who fell on his face by the first-base line Aug. 7 at PNC Park, was the guest of Pirates president Frank Coonelly, as was his son, Keith.

Catch more on the Pirates at the PG's PBC Blog . Dejan Kovacevic can be reached at dkovacevic@post-gazette.com .


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