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Burnett on comeback trail to major leagues with Pirates

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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, April 13, 2012
 

LOS ANGELES — A.J. Burnett is slated to make his next rehab start Monday with Triple-A Indianapolis. The right-hander was charged with eight runs — five earned — on five hits in 1.2 innings Wednesday for Single-A Bradenton, walking one and striking out four. Manager Clint Hurdle said Thursday that Burnett pitched a clean, 10-pitch first inning but got into trouble in the second when some young players "ambushed him, got on bases and things started happening."

As Burnett approached the 20-pitch mark, special assistant to the general manager Jim Benedict noticed that the foundation of Burnett's delivery wasn't where it needed to be.

"(Burnett) just tried to power through and focus on getting his pitch count up. The guys kept taking swings, and they kept hitting balls and finding grass," Hurdle said. "He wasn't happy about it, but there's no injury."

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> > Second baseman Neil Walker didn't start, but, before the game, talked about his election to the WPIAL Hall of Fame, announced Thursday. Walker was a three-sport athlete at Pine-Richland High School.

"When it came down to it, I knew baseball was my ticket, but I'll never forget the memories I made in basketball, football and, obviously, baseball," he said. "Those memories will live with me forever."

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> > Josh Harrison and Yamaico Navarro got their first starts of the season at second base and left field, respectively. Hurdle said the tryout process is over but, with a decision to be made when righty Charlie Morton comes off the disabled list, it was another chance for them to make an impression.

"We have an idea of what we need to do here eventually upon Charlie's return," Hurdle said. "We will announce that when it's appropriate, but there will have to be a corresponding move, and we won't be carrying the extra position player at that time."

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