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Saturday's scouting report: Pirates at Rockies

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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, July 25, 2014, 8:18 p.m.
 

• The sooner the Pirates can get into the Rockies' bullpen, the better. Colorado's reliever have struggled for much of the season. They lead baseball with 17 blown saves and are converting just 50 percent of save opportunities. Last weekend in Pittsburgh versus the Rockies, the Pirates mounted three straight come-from-behind wins after the sixth inning.

• The Rockies are wise to load up on left-handed pitching because the ball travels especially well to right-center field at Coors Field, where the power alley is only 375 feet. Even though the Pirates will face left-handed starters Saturday and Sunday, Hurdle might have to look past Pedro Alvarez's numbers versus lefties and hope his power will return in one of the game's best offensive environments.

The Buzz

CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports the Pirates' interest in acquiring A.J. Burnett from the Phillies is “mild at best.” Heyman reports the Pirates want no part of Burnett's 2015 player option, which could reportedly rise to $12.8 million when Burnett is 38 years old.

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