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Notebook: Duke hasn't signed offer

| Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006

Left-handed pitcher Zach Duke still has not signed the one-year contract worth $335,000 offered to him the by the Pirates. Duke, 22, has less than three years of major-league experience and thus has no leverage with the Pirates because he does not yet qualify for salary arbitration. Duke seemed bemused by the news value of the story, especially considering there's nothing he can do about the situation.

"It's not really that big of a deal and I'm not really upset about it," he said.

  • Six pitchers threw either bullpen sessions or live batting practice Friday, including left-hander Sean Burnett, who is in contention for the No. 5 spot in the Pirates' starting rotation. Burnett, 23, missed all of 2005 after undergoing two surgeries on his throwing arm. The other pitchers who threw yesterday were right-handers Matt Capps, Roberto Hernandez, Matt Peterson and Ron Chiavacci and left-hander Mike Johnston. Manager Jim Tracy said that more pitchers would likely throw either batting practice or a bullpen session today.

  • Third baseman Joe Randa, signed during the offseason as a free agent, is wearing No. 5 in his second stint with the Pirates. When he played for Pittsburgh in 1997, Randa wore No. 16, but is wearing No. 5 this year in honor of Hall-of-Famer George Brett, with whom Randa grew close while playing in Kansas City from 1999-2004.

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