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Pirates notebook: Barajas returns to lineup

Kansas City first baseman Eric Hosmer tags the bag to double off the Pirates' Rod Barajas on Sunday, June 10, 2012. (AP)

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at CARDINALS2:15 p.m. Saturday, Busch Stadium, St. Louis

TV/radio: Root Sports/KDKA-FM (93.7), WCNS-AM (1480), WJPA-AM (1450), Pirates Radio Network, XM 183

Probable starters: RHP Jeff Karstens (0-2, 6.35 ERA) vs. Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn (10-3, 3.23)

2:15 p.m. Sunday: LHP Erik Bedard (4-8, 4.27) vs. Cardinals RHP Jake Westbrook (6-6, 3.77)

7:05 p.m. Monday: Astros TBA vs. Pirates RHP James McDonald (7-3, 2.44)

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, June 29, 2012, 6:54 p.m.

ST. LOUIS — Catcher Rod Barajas returned to the lineup Friday after sitting out three games with a bone bruise on his left knee.

“Luckily for us, it turned out to be not as serious as it could have been,” Barajas said.

Barajas was injured Monday in a collision when the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins slid into home plate. Barajas said he was never worried about going on the disabled list and could have played Thursday if necessary.

“We'll have to see how the wear and tear of catching affects it — if it's a longer healing process or if it will heal like any other bruise,” he said. “We'll have to see how I feel when I wake up every morning after I play.”

Eric Fryer was called up from Triple-A as an emergency backup. The Pirates will see how Barajas' knee responds Saturday before deciding whether to send Fryer back down.

• All-Star rosters will be announced Sunday, and outfielder Andrew McCutchen appears to be a lock for a reserve spot. Right-handers A.J. Burnett and James McDonald and closer Joel Hanrahan also seem to be candidates. Manager Clint Hurdle is not doing any last-minute campaigning for his players. “I've never done lobbying,” he said. “It doesn't do any good. I've been the guy who's been lobbied to, and it didn't do them any good. You let the process run its course.” Actually, Hurdle did speak out last year after McCutchen was snubbed when the backups were chosen. McCutchen made the team as an injury replacement for Ryan Braun.

Drew Sutton batted leadoff Friday for the second game in a row. “We're going to give him an opportunity right now, but I'm not going to back away from getting either (Alex) Presley or (Jose) Tabata involved as well,” Hurdle said. “Our team, as it's built right now, we've got to use everybody appropriately. Drew is getting on base and giving us good at-bats.”

• Burnett has won each of his past eight starts, allowing 13 runs in 50 innings. Only two other pitchers in major league history have won eight straight starts while tossing 50 or fewer innings. Jeremy Bonderman of the Tigers threw 49 innings during his eight-win run in 2007, and Barry Zito of the Athletics did it in 50 innings in 2001.

• Any active duty personnel or veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces can get up to four free tickets for the game Wednesday afternoon against the Astros. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

— Rob Biertempfel

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