04/28/12 11:52 PM ET
Barajas takes pride in Pirates' staff's showing
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
Oh deer: Guthrie injury stirs Barmes' memories
ATLANTA -- Clint Barmes could only frown, partly with amusement and partly with disbelief. His unfortunate brush with injury infamy is being linked across a seven-year gap with Jeremy Guthrie, the Colorado pitcher who went on the disabled list after jamming his right shoulder falling off a bike.Stories on Guthrie's fall have dredged up another freak injury in Rockies annals -- Barmes' trip early in June 2005 while carrying deer meat up a staircase, in which he suffered a fractured collarbone. "Hard to believe that's still being brought up," said Barmes, who hadn't heard of Guthrie's mishap. "I'm surprised nobody's been texting me about it. I hate to hear that about Guthrie ... but it's pretty hard to beat falling down while carrying deer meat." Other than perhaps the details, there was nothing funny about Barmes' accident. Either then -- he was hitting .329 at the time, as possibly the frontrunner for National League Rookie of the Year honors, but ended up at .289 after hitting .216 upon his return for the final month of the season. Or since -- the Pirates shortstop hasn't yet been able to return to that level.
Hurdle reflects on media's Harpermania
ATLANTA -- Clint Hurdle was a No. 1 Draft choice at 17, and he made the cover of Sports Illustrated before he made the Major Leagues. But he conceded none of that put him in the same prodigy league as Bryce Harper."There was only one cover then," Hurdle said of 1977, when a month past his 20th birthday, he debuted with the Kansas City Royals. "[Harper's] been on multiple covers. He's got the media attention I had times a bazillion." Hurdle went on to spend 10 seasons in the Majors, playing for the Royals, Reds, Mets and Cardinals. He had a .259 career batting average, with 32 homers and 193 RBIs.
Harper, virtually an omnipresent baseball phenomenon since his grade-school days, was making his big league debut with the Nationals later Saturday night in Los Angeles."My hope for him," Hurdle said, "is that he can find that comfort zone and just goes out and plays the game." Pirates catcher Rod Barajas, with the Dodgers the last two seasons, could well imagine the scene in Chavez Ravine, with Stephen Strasburg on the mound and Harper in the outfield -- Washington's overall No. 1 picks in the First-Year Player Drafts of 2009-10. They were opposing Los Angeles right-hander Chad Billingsley. "Who pitched for the Dodgers [Friday] night?" Barajas asked. "The lefty?" He was told, yes, it had been Clayton Kershaw. "That explains why they didn't call up the kid [Friday] night, why they waited for Saturday," said Barajas, who caught Kershaw most of his Cy Young Award season of 2011.
The Pirates finally were accorded their first intentional walk of the season. Getting the third-inning free pass, naturally, was .133-hitting Rod Barajas -- who was batting ahead of pitcher Erik Bedard. Barajas then also got No. 2, in the fifth. The Bucs had been the only Major League team yet to get an intentional pass. Three innings before his game-ending circus catch, Jose Tabata had allowed Tyler Pastornicky's sixth-inning single by him for a two-base error, ending the Pirates' errorless streak at 58 2/3 innings. Erik Bedard's second-inning sacrifice bunt was the second of his career, the first coming on May 20, 2007, in an Interleague game between his Orioles and the Nationals. Never mind being 6-0 when scoring at least four runs; the Pirates are 9-2 when scoring more than one run. The Braves' lineup included four left-handed batters, whom Bedard had held to 1-for-13 entering the game. Not surprisingly, Michael Bourn, Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward and Juan Francisco combined to go 1-for-10 (an infield single by Bourn) with five strikeouts against Bedard.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.