Results tagged ‘ Kevin Hart ’

Game 36: Dodgers (16-20) @ Pirates (18-17)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates’ push over the .500 mark got me curious. Where, in the context of the previous 18 years, does this team fit in terms of its record through 35 games? In case you had a similar query, here are some numbers for you. Below, you’ll find the team’s record through its first 35 games (every year since 1993) and then the club’s end-of-season record.

1993: 17-18… finished 75-87
1994: 17-18… finished 53-61 (strike shortened)
1995:  13-22… finished 58-86 (strike shortened)
1996: 16-19… finished 73-89
1997: 19-16… finished 79-83
1998: 16-19… finished 69-93
1999: 18-17… finished 78-83
2000: 16-19… finished 69-93
2001: 13-22… finished 62-100
2002: 18-17… finished 72-89
2003: 14-21… finished 75-87
2004: 17-18… finished 72-89
2005: 16-19… finished 67-95
2006: 10-25… finished 67-95
2007: 15-20… finished 68-94
2008: 16-19… finished 67-95
2009: 14-21… finished 62-99
2010: 15-20… finished 57-105

As you’ll see, I’ve bolded the only three instances when the Pirates were above .500 heading into game No. 36. None of those teams ended the season with more than 79 wins. Do you think this 2011 squad can get to 82?

As for news and notes of the day…

  • A day after returning to the lineup after a few days off, Pedro Alvarez is back out. This has nothing to do with an injury, though. Alvarez confirmed he is fine, as did manager Clint Hurdle, who preferred Alvarez out against a lefty starter.
  • Right-hander Evan Meek is set to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday — this will be his first since landing on the DL. Meek, who said he felt great throwing from 120 feet today, is scheduled to throw a second bullpen in Milwaukee and then head out on a brief rehab assignment (probably two outings).  He has not yet been told where that rehab work will be.
  • Before the Pirates have to come up with a spot for Meek, they’ll have to make room for Jose Ascanio. That is, if the organization elects to bring him up. The Pirates have to decide tomorrow whether to call up Ascanio or risk losing him through waivers in an effort to assign him to Triple-A. The Pirates wanted Ascanio to make it through two innings in his rehab appearance on Monday, but the righty lasted just one (31 pitches). Not sure how much that will factor into the evaluation.
  • If Ascanio does join the Pirates, who goes? My guess would be Mike Crotta. Daniel Moskos is another possibility, though the Pirates have talked about the advantages of having two lefties. I think the club has to keep Daniel McCutchen because of the need for a long guy. That could make Crotta the odd man out.
  • Rehabbing right-hander Kevin Hart is also progressing. He is slated to throw live batting practice this week — another first. He’ll have at least two such sessions before being sent out to extended Spring Training or on a rehab assignment.
  • Ryan Doumit earns his third straight start and deservedly so. His handprints have been all over the team’s recent success. He is batting .333 with three doubles, three homers and 11 RBIs in his last 15 games.
  • After watching a replay of Jose Tabata’s “catch” on Monday, Hurdle agreed that the ball bounced into the glove. Hurdle also shared his feelings about increasing the use of instant replay, and you can find more on those in today’s Pirates.com beat.
  • Tabata continues to struggles (1-for-12 in his last four games and 8-for-63 in his last 18) and Hurdle admitted he has had conversations about moving Tabata down in the order. The dilemma is finding a good No. 2 hitter to put in place of Tabata and then figuring out where the left fielder belongs further down in the order. Conversations are ongoing.
  • Both John Bowker and Andrew Lambo had two-run homers for Triple-A Indianapolis in a win on Monday. Something I neglected to mention a few days ago was that Andy Marte was assigned to extended Spring Training in order to open up a spot for Bowker on Indianapolis’ roster. Marte isn’t hurt, there is just no roster room for him on the Triple-A team.
  • It’s rare that I take a glance at the standings, but in case you’re curious — Pirates are in third place in the NL Central, two games behind the Cardinals. Cincinnati is second with a 19-16 record.
  • Pittsburgh has won seven of its last 10 games. No team in the Majors has done better in its most recent 10 games. 
  • Though he is 5-2 this season, Kevin Correia is still searching for that first home victory. Granted, he’s only had two starts at home this season — but both have been losses. He has a 6.94 ERA in those two games at PNC Park. In his career against the Dodgers, Correia is 1-2 with a 4.24 ERA (three starts).

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), M. Diaz (RF), N. Walker (2B), S. Pearce (1B), R. Doumit (C), B. Wood (3B), R. Cedeno (SS), K. Correia (RHP)

DODGERS: J. Carroll (SS), A. Miles (2B), A. Ethier (RF), M. Kemp (CF), J. Uribe (3B), J. Loney (1B), R. Barajas (C), J. Sands (LF), T. Lilly (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 34: Red Sox @ Pirates

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

As the Pirates meet with a nutritionist this morning, I bring you today’s morning news and notes…

  • Brad Lincoln was walking around the clubhouse with a sleeve on his right arm after getting hit by a line drive near his elbow on Friday. Lincoln said his arm is very stiff and that he will continue to get treatment today. Normally, he’d be scheduled to throw a side session two days after his last outing (so that would be tomorrow), but his guess now is that he won’t be able to do that. How that might affect Lincoln’s next start is unknown at this point.
  • You can read more on pirates.com later, but Kevin Hart was legitimately disappointed to know that he is going to have to open the season on the disabled list. Until recently, the right-hander truly believed he’d be ready to go by Opening Day. Now, he has no chance of being in Pittsburgh until June at the earliest. “You always think you’re going to be the exception,” Hart said, implying that he thought his recovery from surgery would be quicker than most.
  • Right-hander Chris Resop talked this morning about the difficulty of coming in cold yesterday to finish out the third inning after Lincoln left with the injury. He went with all fastballs to get through that frame and loosen up his arm. Resop did mix in a number of changeups in his next two innings and ended up having a pretty good day. He hasn’t been told he has made the club yet, but I just don’t see a scenario in which Resop isn’t on the 25-man Opening Day roster.
  • The Pirates are on Fox Sports Net today for those of you back in Pittsburgh.
  • Right-hander Jose Ascanio is scheduled to throw batting practice over at Pirate City today. If my memory is right, this will be Ascanio’s second BP session. Usually pitchers are cleared to return to game action after two, so it will be interesting to see if Ascanio makes his first spring appearance next week.
  • Left-hander Garrett Olson, who the Pirates claimed off waivers on Friday, is scheduled to arrive in Bradenton tonight. The tentative schedule is to have him throw a side on Sunday and then pitch in Monday’s game.
  • The following pitchers are scheduled to throw on Sunday: Charlie Morton, Evan Meek, Michael Crotta, Chris Leroux
  • Righty Joel Hanrahan is down to throw one inning in a Triple-A game on Sunday.
  • Steve Pearce is expected to get some playing time at third base today. I have not seen Pearce play third in a game yet, so I’ll be interested to see how he looks there.
  • We’re down to 32 teams in the NCAA tournament after two days of games, and S. Gassert is currently leading the Bucs Bits Bloggers tourney. I’ll update the leaderboard after each round.

Lineups:

PIRATES: J. Tabata (LF), N. Walker (2B), A. McCutchen (CF), L. Overbay (1B), P. Alvarez (3B), M. Diaz (RF), R. Cedeno (SS), D. Brown (C), K. Correia (RHP)

Pitchers: K. Correia, J. Hanrahan, J. Beimel, F. Nieve, J. Thomas

RED SOX: M. Scutaro (SS), D. Pedroia (2B), J. Saltalamacchia (C), K. Youkilis (3B), M. Cameron (DH), D. McDonald (CF), D. Nava (LF), J. Reddick (RF), N. Spears (1B)

Pitchers: J. Beckett, A. Aceves, D. Wheeler

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Phillies 3, Pirates 2

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Most of what you’re going to want to read today is going to be on the pirates.com tonight, so I’ll refrain from rewriting all of that here. On the main site, you can read about…

  • The Pirates claimed lefty Garrett Olson off waivers and added him to the list of lefties trying to make the bullpen. GM Neal Huntington said the addition was to increase competition. I happen to believe it’s also the the result of the Pirates being worried about their other left-handed relief options.
  • Brad Lincoln left Friday’s game with a right forearm contusion, sustained when he was nailed by a line drive. We’ll know more about the injury on Saturday, but Lincoln didn’t seem to believe the ailment was anything serious. He got lucky that the ball did not hit any bone.
  • Kevin Hart will not be pitching in Pittsburgh until at least June. He has been placed on the 60-day disabled list as the slow recovery from right shoulder surgery continues.
  • Ryan Doumit went 0-for-2, was hit by a pitch and caught five innings in Friday’s game. He reported feeling just fine, so that oblique strain seems to be an issue of the past.

And below are the leftovers, which you will not find on the main site…

***

The Pirates lost this one on a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth. Not that the loss means anything, but the club has now dropped six of its last seven games. Results, manager Clint Hurdle said afterward, will start meaning a little more pretty soon.

“I think right now we need to know what our personnel is,” Hurdle said. “We need to make sure that we get the questions answered that we have for ourselves coming in. The last week … there probably will be a heightened awareness of finishing games off at that point in time.”

***

As mentioned in the early blog, today was a day for those fighting for a bench spot to step up. Josh Rodriguez had a nice 2-for-3 day and Steve Pearce would have had two hits if he hadn’t been robbed on a terrific running catch in the sixth. But otherwise, there was little to get excited about offensively.

With an 0-for-3 day, Garrett Atkins has just one hit in his last 21 at-bats. That certainly is not helping his case in a four-man competition for the corner utility job. Andy Marte, on the other hand, had another hit on Friday and is now 9-for-23 this spring.

“I think we’re evaluating internally and we’ll keep it internal,” Hurdle said, when asked if anyone has stood out. “We’ll let people know as we do that. Obviously at this point in time, we’re close to having another round-them-up meeting to decide what we’re going to do with our personnel. I like the way everybody has gone about their work. I like that we have been able to move those guys fighting for the bench positions around.”

In other words, with 44 players in camp, expect another round of cuts to be coming soon. We are t-minus 14 days away from Opening Day.

***

I probably haven’t been giving Michael Crotta enough due this spring, but he has pitched quite well. Now, it should be mentioned that he has mostly faced reserves and Minor Leaguers since he’s been pitching late in games. But Crotta has gotten the ball down and made an impression.

With another scoreless inning on Friday, he has now not allowed a run in eight Grapefruit League innings. I don’t expect him to be in the Pirates’ bullpen right out of camp, but he could be a fit at some point during the season.

“He’s throwing strikes,” Hurdle said. “He continues to hold his own this spring. He’s done well.”

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Bucs claim Garrett Olson; Hart moved to 60-day DL

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates have another left-handed pitcher joining camp, as the team claimed Garrett Olson off waivers from the Mariners on Friday.

Olson has pitched in the Majors in parts of the last four seasons. He went 0-3 with a 4.54 ERA in 35 relief appearances last season. He has also started 44 Major League games and has a career 6.20 ERA in 99 total appearances.

General manager Neal Huntington is expected to comment on the acquisition soon, but it’s expected that Olson will jump into the mix to compete for a spot in the Pirates’ bullpen. The club is looking for left-handed relievers, and both Joe Beimel and Scott Olsen have struggled since coming back from early spring injuries.

In order to add Olson to the 40-man roster, the Pirates placed Kevin Hart on the 60-day disabled list. Hart continues to recover from right shoulder surgery.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

McDonald to skip start

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

James McDonald will have his next start skipped as he continues to deal with left side discomfort. The Pirates issued a report saying that McDonald is feeling better, but that the decision to have him miss his turn in the rotation was for precautionary reasons.

The Pirates will not speculate on whether McDonald will have to miss any additional starts and have not specifically diagnosed the injury beyond saying left side soreness. 

In other injury news from the club:

  • Kevin Hart completed another bullpen session on Monday
  • Chris Snyder and Ryan Doumit are both improving and will be re-evaluated on Wednesday

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 28: Red Sox @ Pirates

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

I’m going to keep this really brief since we’re a little more than an hour away from game time already.

Morning news:

  • Scott Olsen and Joe Beimel are slated to make their spring debuts on Monday. Each lefty will pitch one inning. More on pirates.com later about whether or not Olsen has the time to build up enough arm strength to begin the season as a starter
  • Righty Kevin Hart threw a 25-pitch bullpen session on Saturday and had no issues. His progress is slow, but he is recovering.
  • Catcher Chris Snyder will receive more treatment today to help with his lower back soreness. He remains out of the lineup.
  • The following pitchers will throw on Monday: Kevin Correia (five innings), Evan Meek, Olsen, Beimel, Michael Crotta

Lineups:

PIRATES: J. Tabata (CF), N. Walker (2B), P. Alvarez (3B), G. Jones (RF), L. Overbay (1B), J. Bowker (LF), R. Cedeno (SS), D. Brown (C), B. Lincoln (RHP)

Pitchers: B. Lincoln, J. Hanrahan, J. Karstens, C. Resop, C. Leroux

RED SOX: M. Cameron (RF), J. Lowrie (SS), JD Drew (DH), J. Varitek (C), R. Kalish (CF), D. McDonald (LF), L. Anderson (1B), N. Spears (2B), D. Sutton (3B)

Pitchers: J. Beckett, S. Atchison, A. Miller, D. Bard

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Injury report

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates have implemented a new policy this year as it relates to disclosing injury information and it involves issuing team statements on injuries. In the past, more often than not, media members got injury information by asking questions.

Anyways, the Pirates sent out an injury update this morning, and I’ve copied and pasted it below. I’m not sure how much information is really in here, given how vague and unspecific a number of these updates are. But I give you what I receive and you can do your best to decipher…

  • RHP Jose Ascanio threw a bullpen yesterday without any issues.  He will continue on his return to pitch progression. 
  • LHP Joe Beimel continues on his return to pitch progression without issue. 
  • OF John Bowker - his left wrist feels better and his status remains day to day.
  • INF Brian Friday - his left hand feels better and his status remains day to day.
  • RHP Kevin Hart continues on his return to pitch progression without issue.
  • LHP Scott Olsen continues on his return to pitch progression without issue. 
  • INF Josh Rodriguez - his right quadriceps feels better and his status remains day to day.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 17: Twins @ Pirates; Beimel update

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Everyone that is not a player was kicked out of the clubhouse early today, as the Major League Baseball Players Association rolled in town to have its annual meeting with the team. That meeting — which comes just months before the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires in December — is expected to take 1.5 – 2 hours.

Until then, here is your morning news…

  • After all that, lefty Joe Beimel actually didn’t finish his MRI yesterday. His recollection of the test was quite humorous, as he described having to contort his arm and swing his head to the side of the machine to hold his arm up into the tube. It worked for a while, but after 20 minutes, Beimel said his arm went numb. Attempts to get feeling back into his arm didn’t work and the doctors eventually ended the exam. Apparently, the doctors got one picture but everything else was blurry since Beimel was moving his arm too much.
  • All this said, Beimel said he actually doesn’t think he’s going to go through the test today. Doctors still don’t believe this is more than a muscle issue, and Beimel reported feeling better on Wednesday. The plan is to take today off and then test the arm by playing catch on Thursday. “Today, I don’t feel it at all,” Beimel said.
  • We might have the quote of the year, too, and it’s only March 2. Said Beimel of this whole MRI fun: “I can play Pacman on my cell phone, but I have to contort my body to get an MRI.”
  • Also caught up with Kevin Hart, who said he was progressing through his throwing program. He still has not had a true side session, though he keeps throwing on flat ground. Hart has had no setbacks, and since he was throwing off the mound before he had to take a step back, he believes his arm is staying strong enough that he won’t have to have a lengthy string of bullpen sessions before he is cleared to get into games. He hopes to be on the mound in the next 7-10 days. His goal is to still be ready to go by Opening Day, though that is in question.

Lineups:

PIRATES: J. Tabata (LF), C. Wimberly (SS), A. McCutchen (CF), P. Alvarez (3B), N. Walker (2B), L. Overbay (1B), S. Pearce (DH), R. Doumit (C), A. Lambo (RF)

Pitchers: R. Ohlendorf (2 innings), T. Watson, J. Hanrahan, J. Veras, M. Crotta, C. Leroux

TWINS: B. Revere (CF), T. Plouffe (SS), J. Kubel (DH), D. Valencia (3B),, L. Hughes (2B), J. Bailey (1B), B. Dinkelman (LF), S. Holm (C), J. Repko (RF)

Pitchers: B. Duensing, M. Capps, P. Neshek, P. Dumatrait, J. Manship, D. Hughes

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 6: Daily Squeeze

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com


Mazeroski with Walker.jpgClint Hurdle
addressed the troops this morning, just before the Pirates took the field for the team’s first official full-squad workout of the spring. Hurdle’s message to the players was much the same as it has been since his introductory press conference. Trust and focus are key components. Hard work, focus on the future and intensity in these Spring Training workouts were, too.

“There will be a group of men that turns this thing around here,” Hurdle said. “It will happen. So why can’t we? Why can’t we be the start? We need to set our bar at the championship level, starting with the execution and a mindset. We’ve got to think that way. We’ve got to act that way.”

So far, the message has been extremely well received.

“He’s happy to be here,” Ronny Cedeno said of Hurdle. “This is a good guy. I think we’ve got a better team than last year. We’ve got to play right. We’ve got to play better than last year. We have more talent here. We’ve got to put everything together and we’ll be OK.”

The rest of your newsworthy items…

  • A group of 14 pitchers threw their first session of live batting practice today. Those pitchers included: Paul Maholm, Joel Hanrahan, Kevin Correia, Evan Meek, James McDonald, Joe Beimel, Ross Ohlendorf, Jose Veras, Aaron Thompson, Rudy Owens, Kyle McPherson, Justin Wilson, Jeff Locke and Michael Crotta. After warming up, each pitcher threw 15 pitches, stepped aside for a bit and then returned to throw 15 more. Hitters took turns rotating in to hit.
  • The healthy pitchers who did not throw on Saturday will throw their live BP sessions on Sunday.
  • Right-hander Kevin Hart threw off flat ground and it wasn’t just long toss. Hart threw with plenty of intensity.
  • Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski has arrived and began his work with infielders right away. He spent significant time next to second baseman Neil Walker (how fitting) on Saturday and will continue to work closely with Walker all spring.
  • If you’re looking for a one of many feel-good stories this spring, here is one for you to consider. Tyler Yates talks in length about his journey back from Tommy John surgery and about a phone call to his dad, who encouraged him to give baseball one more chance as he was prepared to quit.
  • The Columbus (Ga.) High School baseball team was out shagging fly balls on Saturday and will do so again on Sunday. Pirates national crosschecker Jimmy Lester has a son on the team. Two local teams will be joining the Pirates to help in the outfield next week.
  • I get a lot of questions at this time a year about how so-and-so looks fielding or hitting or throwing at this point in camp. Let me emphasize, as I do every year, that it is way too early to be making judgements on that. Spring Training results need not be taken all that seriously because they often aren’t a good predictor of what will actually happen from Opening Day on. Keep that in mind for the next six weeks.
  • Hurdle hinted at such a warning, too, when talking about what he has seen out of his hitters during the situational hitting drills: “I see focus and intent. Obviously, they want results right away but it’s a new process for them. It’s not so much about the results daily as the preparation that is put in and the focus doing it. Some of the guys haven’t shown up very well in some of the drills. They take it personally. They’re understanding, though, the reason behind it.”
  • The Pirates have five more workout days before they face the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota baseball team in a seven-inning exhibition game next Friday. Hurdle said he will use mostly young players in that game.
  • The city of Bradenton is holding a pep rally Saturday from 5-7:30 pm on Old Main Street. Highlights include player autograph sessions and speeches from Frank Coonelly, Hurdle and Steve Blass. The event is free to the public.
  • The Pirates will hold photo day on Sunday.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 2: Daily Squeeze

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Hart, Kevin.jpgLet me start off today’s post-workout recap with a question for you: What’s the biggest challenge facing Clint Hurdle as he begins the task as this team’s next manager?

That was the question posed to me recently and the subject of a story I wrote for the main site today. You can find my answer to that inquiry here. And, of course, I would love to hear your thoughts as well, if you so desire to share.

Plenty else to run through at the end of another workout day, so let’s get rolling:

  • First baseman Lyle Overbay arrived in Bradenton last night and made his first appearance at Pirate City on Tuesday. Overbay helped out during the pitchers’ fielding practice, and he took some cuts during batting practice. With Overbay in uniform, the Pirates are now just missing seven of their 62 players.
  • Right-hander Kevin Hart was out on the field before workouts going through his long toss program. Hart had been shut down for 10 days and given a cortisone shot to help reduce inflammation in his surgically-repaired shoulder. All went well on Tuesday as he got to throwing again. The Pirates aren’t going to rush Hart’s progression, though, so it will be a while before he takes the mound again.
  • Congratulations are in order for Manny Sanguillen, who was recently inducted into the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame. He was part of the second class of inductees and was joined by Edgar Martinez, Luis Tiant, Andres Galarraga, Rico Carty, Dennis Martinez and Fernando Valenzuela. The ceremony was held this past Saturday in the Dominican Republic.
  • I had the opportunity to meet pitching prospect Luis Heredia today, as he spent the morning watching the Major League Spring Training workouts. He asked to leave the Pirate City dorms and watch. Heredia also threw a long toss session in the afternoon. He is scheduled to throw off the mound on Thursday. My first impression: very cordial kid, and very tall! And to think that he is already 6-foot-6 and only 16, with time to continue growing.
  • The following 16 players threw their scheduled bullpen sessions on Tuesday: Charlie Morton, Brian Burres, Fernando Nieve, Chris Resop, Sean Gallagher, Tony Watson, Cesar Valdez, Tyler Yates, Jeff Karstens, Justin Thomas, Brad Lincoln, Chris Leroux, Daniel McCutchen, Ramon Aguero, Daniel Moskos and Bryan Morris.
  • The final number of side session was then pushed to 17 when Donnie Veal took the mound for a short side after the rest of the group had finished. Veal is on a different track than the rest of the pitchers, since he is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
  • Pitching coach Ray Searage (unsolicited) specifically praised three pitchers for looking particularly sharp in their first official bullpen session — Yates, Evan Meek, and Michael Crotta. Speaking of Meek, Searage said: “That was the best ‘pen I’ve ever seen out of Meek. Good gosh, it was solid.”
  • You can find more about this in the lengthy Pirates Beat that will be posted on the main site later this afternoon, but lefty Scott Olsen is being particularly cautious in his Spring Training progression this year. The goal is to ensure that the left shoulder, which has caused him injury issues over the past two years, does not flare up. A slower progression won’t affect his ability to compete for a rotation spot.
  • You won’t be seeing any strings during the side sessions any more. The strings that former pitching coach Joe Kerrigan used to put across home plate as a marker for pitch location are gone. The dummies are still around, but they will not be used all that much anymore, either.
  • Right-hander Brad Lincoln has reported to camp a few pounds lighter after some tough offseason conditioning work. His breaking ball isn’t all that sharp yet, though that’s obviously common at this point in the spring. As for his mechanics — which were badly tinkered with last season — Searage said they are back to where they need to be. Searage also promised that he would not be forcing any new mechancial changes on Lincoln moving forward.
  • Don’t expect the Pirates to name an Opening Day starter until at least midway through the Grapefruit League schedule. Hurdle said he already has some candidates, but he wants to see these starters pitch in games before a final schedule is mapped out.
  • Congratulations are also in order for James McDonald, who got engaged down here on Monday night.
  • The Pirates remain mum on their closer decision. It should be made this week, though.
  • Outfielder Matt Diaz is looking for 120 volunteers to help him build a playground for the Winter Haven Boys and Girls club on March 15. If you want more information, go here.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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