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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.

Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007
 

One pitcher has been added to the Pirates' 40-man roster, while two others could be on their way off the list.

Tuesday, right-hander Luis Munoz was placed on the 40-man roster, a reward for a solid season at Class AA Altoona.

Right-hander Tony Armas filed for free agency Monday, the first day when players were allowed to declare. Right-hander Shawn Chacon filed for free agency yesterday.

Armas signed a $3.5 million deal with the Pirates as a free agent last offseason, but was a flop as a member of the starting rotation. His contract had a $5 million club option for 2008 and a $500,000 buyout.

Chacon was used mostly out of the bullpen and made $3.825 million this year. At season's end, Chacon said he wanted to remain with the Pirates, but would prefer to work as a starter.

Former general manager Dave Littlefield never formally discussed a multi-year contract with Chacon's agent. Littlefield was fired Sept. 7, and agent Dan Horwits said he has not had contract discussions with new GM Neal Huntington.

Huntington was in a closed-door meeting yesterday afternoon and did not return a call from the Tribune-Review.

The Pirates will have exclusive negotiating rights with Chacon and Armas until Nov. 12.

Munoz went 14-6 with a 3.57 ERA in 28 games (26 starts) for the Curve. He also went 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA in three spot starts for Class AAA Indianapolis.

Munoz, 25, led all Pirates farmhands in wins, ranked second in ERA and third in strikeouts (105). He was ninth in the Class AA Eastern League in ERA.

To make room for Munoz on the roster, left-hander Josh Shortslef was designated for assignment. Shortslef went 5-13 with a 4.40 ERA last year for Altoona.

Notes: John Shelby, the team's first base coach the past two seasons, has taken the same position with the Baltimore Orioles. ... Former director of player development Brian Graham was hired by the Orioles as a special assignment coach for the minor leagues. ... Infielder Matt Kata cleared waivers after being designated for assignment last week, but refused his assignment to Class AAA Indianapolis and declared free agency. ... Ted Simmons, the Pirates' GM from 1991-92, was named bench coach for the Milwaukee Brewers.

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