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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.

Thursday, July 16, 2009
 

The Pirates expect to hear by the end of this week or early next week whether Major League Baseball agrees with their conclusion that prized Dominican prospect Miguel Angel Sano is, in fact, only 16 years old.

If so, expect other teams to jump into the mix for Sano, a shortstop/outfielder who is expected to attract a multi-million-dollar signing bonus.

So far, Pirates president Frank Coonelly said only the Pirates have made an official offer. They made it July 2, a few minutes past midnight, on the first day of the international signing period. Coonelly did not divulge the dollar amount.

"It appears that we were the only club willing to make an offer to Mr. Sano prior to the completion of Major League Baseball's investigation of his age," Coonelly said. "His agent informed us that (Sano) will wait until after the investigation (to accept any offer).

"I found that to be unfortunate, given that we have serious interest in the player and showed it by being out there right at the July 2 deadline, while other clubs apparently don't believe Mr. Sano when he says he's 16 years old."

The Baltimore Orioles, Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers are among the teams that have expressed interest in signing Sano. Others are likely to join the bidding if MLB confirms Sano's age.

Yates lost for season

Pirates right-handed reliever Tyler Yates will miss the rest of the 2009 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery Tuesday to repair a torn ligament in his right elbow.

Yates, 31, had been on the 15-day disabled list since May 16 with right-elbow inflammation. He appeared in 15 games for the Pirates this season, going 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA in 12 innings. Yates, who signed a one-year, $1.3 million contract in January, is in his second season with the Pirates. He'll report to Bradenton, Fla., to continue his rehabilitation and won't expect to throw for another five to six months.

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