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Pirates make right call with Martin, Liriano

OK, here's something positive about the Pittsburgh Pirates.

They made the right moves with qualifying offers to catcher Russell Martin and pitcher Francisco Liriano.

Both players rejected the $15.3 million, one-year deal by Monday's deadline.

Martin's choice was a no-brainer. He'll get some serious coin real soon.

Liriano? Can't blame him. He could have taken the money and hoped for a big offer next season.

But I'm guessing he'll do better.

The Pirates will get a draft pick as compensation if Liriano and Martin sign.

So the Bucs have covered their bases, so to speak.

It's better this year, than, say, last year when they passed on A.J. Burett and got nothing when he signed with the Phils.


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So much for Byron the great backup

I never understood the Steelers' fascination with their backup quarterbacks.

They've had either Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich for what seems like ages now.

And when the Steelers really needed a backup, Leftwich couldn't deliver.

Leftwich rambled 31 yards for a touchdown Sunday against the Ravens, but other than that burst, the Steelers couldn't do anything on offense in a 13-10 loss that puts them in a bad position in the AFC North.

Leftwich, with his long delivery, looks better suited for the Pirates' bullpen than behind center.

He went 18-for-39 passing for 201 yards, but couldn't help a Steelers' offense that looks lost right now.

The Ravens came into the game with a weak defense. The thought was Leftwich could manage the game, the Steelers could find a running back to rely on and they'd escape with a win.

It didn't work out that way.

And it looks like we could see Batch at QB this week -- or someone else.

The Steelers are worried about Leftw…