Tag: Starling Marte

Thompson And Curve Get The Win

It's like they said in the movie "Bull Durham":  some days you win, some days you lose, some days it rains.  Again on Saturday, the Pirates' lower minor league affiliates experienced all three. 

It rained again in West Virginia.  The Power and the Savannah Sand Gnats will try for a double header again on Sunday.  As best as I can tell, Friday's game has been "cancelled" and won't be made up.

The win:
Altoona Curve  6,  Erie SeaWolves  2
(box score)

The Curve finally put one in the win column, as they out-hit the SeaWolves 14 - 3 on Saturday afternoon.  All but one member of the starting line-up had at least one hit, and while C Eric Fryer didn't smack a hit, he contributed two walks and scored a run.  CF Starling Marte, who had been hitless in the Curve's first two games, led the onslaught with 4 hits -- 3 singles and a double.  2B Brock Holt, DH Kris Watts, and 3B Jeremy Farrell all had two hits, and Holt and Farrell each drove in two runs.  

Erie scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the 1st, on an infield single by the first batter of the game, followed by a bunt and a balk by starter Aaron Thompson, and an RBI ground out.  Thompson settled in after that, and did not allow another run nor another hit.  He walked one and struck out two in his 6 innings of work.  

The Curve tied the game in the 3rd inning.  Fryer walked, then came around to score on a wild pitch.  They took the lead in the 6th, when Marte doubled.  SS Jordy Mercer singled, driving in Marte.  Watts also singled, and he scored moments later when Farrell singled.  RF Brad Chalk added another run in the 7th -- he tripled, then came across the plate on Holt's RBI single.  The Curve rallied again in the 8th, for two more insurance runs.  Watts started with his second single.  Farrell brought him home with a double, and Holt followed up with an RBI single to plate Farrell.  

Reliever Brian Leach pitched a scoreless 7th inning and began the 8th, allowing a single.  Michael Dubee took over for Leach, but the runner scored on an RBI single.  Dubee also pitched a perfect 9th, earning his first save.  Thompson earned the win.  

Snyder And Rubenstein Blast Away For Marauders

A win, a loss, and a rainout in the rest of the Pirates' minor league organization on Friday evening.  The rainout was in West Virginia, where the Power were getting soggy.  They will play a double header on Saturday.

The win:  
Bradenton Marauders  13,  Charlotte Stone Crabs  0

And a shutout win, at that.   The Marauders blasted 13 runs on 13 hits, while the pitching staff held Charlotte scoreless on 6 hits.  The scoring began in the bottom of the 1st, when CF Evan Chambers walked and rehabbing major league catcher Chris Snyder homered over the left field wall.  LF David Rubinstein got the fun started in the 2nd inning with a line drive single into right field.  A single by 1B Cole White and a walk to SS Benji Gonzalez loaded the bases, then another walk to RF Robbie Grossman forced in Rubinstein.  2B Jarek Cunningham drove in White and Gonzalez with a double, and Grossman scored on Chambers' sacrifice fly.  Snyder added a single, to drive in Cunningham with the 5th run of the inning.  Walks to DH Calvin Anderson and Rubinstein loaded the bases again, but a ground out ended the rally.  
 
Rubinstein also began the Marauders' rally in the 5th.  Three consecutive singles, by Rubinstein, White, and 3B Elevys Gonzalez, loaded the bases without an out.  Benji Gonzalez's ground out brought in Rubinstein, and a single by Grossman plated both White and Elevys Gonzalez.  A walk to Cunningham and a single by Chambers loaded the bases again.   That set up Snyder, who cleared the bases with a double into deep center field, and gave the Marauders 6 runs in that inning, for a 13-run lead.  Rubinstein's third single plus walks to both Gonzalez-es loaded the bases again in the 8th, but a strikeout ended that inning with all three still on base.  

The Marauders' pitching staff was having as much fun as the hitters.  Joe Beimel, also on a rehab assignment, pitched the first inning, and retired the side in order on three ground outs.  After Beimel's inning, Matt McSwain came on to pitch.  He allowed only one single in his first 3 innings, and retired that runner with a double play.  He allowed two singles to lead off the 5th inning, but another double play got him out of that small jam. McSwain finished his outing with 5 scoreless innings, three hits, no walks, and no strikeouts, earning the win.  Jeff Inman pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing just 2 hits, and Gabriel Alvarado also allowed a hit and a walk in the final inning.  

Two Hits Each For Latimore, Snyder, Rubinstein, And Power

All of the Pirates' minor league affiliates lost their season openers on Thursday night:

Erie SeaWolves  3,  Altoona Curve 2

One run in the bottom of the 9th made the difference, as the Curve lost in Erie, PA.  The SeaWolves were first onto the scoreboard with a pair of runs in the 5th inning.  Curve starter Bryan Morris had already escaped from two jams in the early innings.  In the 2nd, RF Brad Chalk threw out a runner who was trying to stretch a double into a triple, then Chalk ended the inning when he threw to C Tony Sanchez to nail a runner who was trying to score from second base on a single.  Morris loaded the bases in the 4th with a single and two walks, but a timely double play, 3B Jeremy Farrell to 2B Brock Holt, to 1B Miles Durham, ended that inning without a run scoring.  Morris' luck ran out in the 5th, though, when a walk and a 2-run homer gave Erie a 2-0 lead.  

The Curve missed a scoring opportunity in the top of the 2nd, when Sanchez singled into left field, and LF Quincy Latimore lined a double just out of the reach of the Erie left fielder.  But with runners on second and third, Erie starter Jacob Turner struck out both Farrell and DH Eric Fryer to end the inning.  Turner allowed only two base runners for the next 4 innings -- he walked Holt, and he hit Sanchez with a pitch.  (Sanchez has got to stop being a magnet for opposing pitchers' pitches.)  After Turner left the game, the Curve were able to put men on base again.  Farrell singled and Fryer walked in the 7th, though they didn't score.  The 8th inning began with back-to-back walks to Holt and CF Starling Marte.  SS Jordy Mercer bunted them over to second and third, then another walk to Sanchez loaded the bases.  Latimore came through again, with another double off the left field wall, missing a grand slam by inches, to plate both Holt and Marte and tie the game at 2-2.  

Reliever Anthony Claggett finished the 5th inning for Morris with a strikeout and a pickoff of one of the runners Morris had put on base.  Aaron Pribanic and Jared Hughes each pitched a perfect inning, with one strikeout for Pribanic and two for Hughes.  Michael Dubee struck out the side in the 8th inning to preserve the tie.  The Curve batters could not get anything going in the top of the 9th, though, and Dubee came back out to pitch the bottom of the 9th.  With one out, a single and a stolen base put a runner in scoring position, and a ground out moved him to third base.  Then a sinking line drive, just inches away from the diving Latimore's glove, fell in for a hit, scoring the runner from third base for the walk-off win.  
Dubee was charged with the loss.  Morris got a no-decision, with 2 runs on 4 hits and 5 walks, plus 3 strikeouts, in 4.1 innings.  The Curve had just 4 hits, two of them doubles by Latimore.  


Pirates Take Final Warm-Up

Pirates  4,  Phillies  1

The Pirates appreciated the warmer temperatures this afternoon -- warmer than last night, anyway.  They held the Phillies to just 2 hits, and starter Charlie Morton gave up only one unearned run in 5 innings, as they won the second of two pre-season games in Philadelphia.  

A throwing error by 3B Pedro Alvarez put the first Phillies' batter on base in the bottom of the 2nd inning.  Two ground outs moved the runner to third, then brought him in.  Morton worked around a single and a walk in the 1st and another walk in the 3rd.  He made an error in the 5th, when he missed the catch on a toss from 1B Steve Pearce, but worked around that too.  When Morton was done, Mike Crotta and Chris Resop each pitched a perfect inning.  Joel Hanrahan pitched the 8th and allowed a two-out triple, but left the runner standing on third.  Jared Hughes pitched a scoreless 9th, with a walk.

The Pirates scored two in the top of the 2nd, when 1B Lyle Overbay doubled, then Alvarez blasted a home run over the right center field wall.  Steve Pearce doubled to lead off the 6th.  He moved to second on a ground out, then scored on 3B Jordy Mercer's RBI single.  The Pirates added an insurance run in the 9th.  SS Josh Rodriguez singled, then pinch-hitter Josh Harrison moved him to third with another single.  LF John Bowker drove in Rodriguez with a sacrifice fly.  

2B Brian Friday also singled in the game, and CF Starling Marte got into the game as well.


The Indy Indians were scheduled to play the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in Bradenton this afternoon. 

Fields Traded, Pirates Lose Last Florida Game

Twins  4,  Pirates  3
The Pirates finished their Grapefruit League action with an 11-20 record, as they now head north to Pennsylvania, where they will play 2 games against the Philliies in Philadelphia.  Reliever Anthony Claggett suffered a Blown Save and the Loss, as he gave up 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th for the Twins' walk-off win.  

The Pirates were leading 3-2 going into the bottom of the 9th.  Claggett walked the first batter, then the next hitter lifted a fly ball to center field, which sailed over CF Starling Marte's head and caromed off the wall for a triple.  That brought in the tying run.  After a strikeout, the next batter ricocheted a soft liner off Claggett's lower leg.  The ball landed over toward third base, where 3B Josh Rodroguez raced in to make the scoop, but his throw to the plate was not in time for C Jason Jaramillo to tag the runner on third, and the winning run scored.  

LF Jose Tabata got the game started with a double into left field to open the top of the 1st.  2B Neil Walker bunted Tabata to third, and CF Andrew McCutchen brought him in with a sacrifice fly.  Walker started the Pirates' 4th inning rally with a lead-off single into center field.  1B Steve Pearce doubled into center, plating Walker, and RF Matt Diaz's single brought in Pearce.  The Pirates had only two baserunners after the 4th inning -- Jaramillo singled in the 8th, and Pearce walked in the 9th.  

Jeff Karstens made the start, scattering three singles and a walk over the first four innings.  With two outs in the 5th, Karstens got Twins' Denard Span to ground to short, but a wild pitch by SS Ronny Cedeno resulted in a single and a throwing error, and Span positioned on second base.  Another single brought Span across the plate with an unearned run.  Garrett Olson finished the inning for Karstens, then pitched a scoreless 6th inning.  Mike Crotta surrendered his second earned run of the spring, with a walk and a double in the 7th inning.  Chris Resop pitched the 8th inning, and kept the Twins from scoring despite a single and a walk.  

Also getting into the game:  2B Brian Friday and SS Jordy Mercer

The Pirates traded infielder Josh Fields to the Rockies this afternoon, for a player to be named later or cash.  Fields was in Pirates' camp as a non-roster invitee, minor league free agent.  He had been sent to the minor league camp at the end of last week.  In 21 Grapefruit League games, he went 5-for-29, and struck out 11 times.  

Josh Rodriguez, the Pirates' Rule 5 pick from last December, has made the 25-man roster.  He will have to stay on the major league roster all season, or else go through waivers and be offered back to the Cleveland Indians.  Rodriguez will be a back-up infielder and a bat off the bench.   That means that Pedro Ciriaco will be heading back to Indianapolis to begin the season.  

C Chris Snyder will begin the season on the Disabled List.  That leaves Ryan Doumit and Jason Jaramillo to share catching duties for now, and leaves open a spot for OF John Bowker on the 25-man roster.   

Former Pirate RHP Nate Adcock, who was chosen by the Royals in the Rule 5 draft, has won a spot on the Royals' 25-man roster.  Like Rodriguez, if he doesn't stick with the Royals, he'll have to go through waivers and be offered back to the Pirates.  Adcock pitched for A+ Bradenton in 2010, earning an 11-7 record and a 3.38 ERA.  In 141.1 innings, he allowed 131 hits, 53 earned runs, 38 walks, and struck out 113.  If he comes back to the Pirates, he would likely be assigned to AA Altoona.

The Indy Indians faced off against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs in Clearwater, Florida this afternoon.... no results available at this point. 

Three Hits For Cedeno With Indy; Olson Debuts For Pirates

Iron Pigs  6,  Indians  5

The Indianapolis Indians ended their 4-game spring training winning streak with a loss today to the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.  Pirates' Ronny Cedeno came to minor league camp to DH in the game and posted 3 hits for the Tribe.  OF Andrew Lambo singled and tripled for the Indians, and his triple in the 4th inning brought in one run.  The score was tied at 4-4 going into the top of the 9th, with reliever Tom Boleska on the mound for the Indians.  He gave up 3 hits, including an RBI single by former Pirate Brandon Moss, plus a sacrifice fly, to give the Iron Pigs a 6-4 lead.  The Indians got within one run when INF Jim Negrych got on and was brought across the plate by INF Josh Harrison's RBI single.  Lambo's single loaded the bases with one out.  But a double play ended the inning and the game with the Indians unable to catch up.  


Twins  4,  Pirates  1

Newest Pirate LHP Garrett Olson made his debut with his new team this afternoon, as the Pirates lost to the Twins in Bradenton.  Olson came on in relief to pitch the 8th inning, and retired the side in order with a pop out, a fly out, and a ground out.  
Paul Maholm made the start for the Pirates.  He pitched 6 innings and gave up 9 hits and 2 walks, but allowed only 2 runs.  With two outs in the 3rd, Maholm gave up a single, then made a throwing error on a pick-off attempt, which put the runner into scoring position.  A single by C Joe Mauer brought in the run.  The second run scored in the 5th, when a double, a single, and a walk loaded the bases.  A grounder to short started a double play, but the runner from third still scored.  
Jose Veras pitched a scoreless 7th inning for the Indians, allowing just a double.  Anthony Claggett took the 9th, and he gave up the remaining two Twins' runs.  A walk and a single put runners on the corners, then a ground out plated the first run.  A fielding error by SS Pedro Ciriaco allowed the runner from second base to come around and score.   
The Pirates' only run scored in the 2nd inning, and was unearned.  A fielding error on a force attempt gave the Pirates runners on first and second.  C Jason Jaramillo lined a single into center field for the RBI, as RF Matt Diaz scored from second base.  
The Pirates had just 6 hits in the game, including one by LF Steve Pearce.  That gives Pearce 9 hits over his last 9 games (9-for-19,  .474), and a .308 average overall.  LF John Bowker and C Dusty Brown also singled.   CF Corey Wimberly, 2B Shelby Ford, 1B Josh Fields, pinch-hitter Starling Marte, and 3B Andy Marte all got into the game.  

The Pirates have a day off on Tuesday. 

Nice Pitching By Dubee, Crotta, and Boleska

Twins  4,  Pirates  2
The Pirates fell to a 3-3 record in Grapefruit League play this afternoon at McKechnie field.  Both teams posted 9 hits, but the Twins did a better job of pushing runs across.  Ross Ohlendorf made the start and was charged with the loss, but the only run he gave up was unearned, and 4 of the 5 outs he recorded were strikeouts.  The run came in the top of the 1st, on a walk, a passed ball, and an RBI double.  Ohlendorf got the first two outs in the top of the 2nd, then gave up a single, and by then he had reached his pitch limit.  Mike Dubee, up from minor league camp, finished the inning for Ohlendorf, blowing three pitches past Jason Repko for a strikeout.  Tony Watson pitched the 3rd inning, and gave up a run on a walk and an RBI double.  

The Pirates got one run back in the bottom of the 5th.  RF Andrew Lambo started the rally with a ground rule double down the left field line, and then he scored on LF Jose Tabata's single up the middle.  Mike Crotta pitched 2 scoreless innings, working around a hit in each (4th and 5th).   Joel Hanrahan took over for the 6th.  The first batter he faced, 2B Luke Hughes, drove a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall to give the Twins a 3-1 lead.  After the homer, Hanrahan got two outs, then loaded the bases with a walk and two singles.  Hanrahan was relieved by another minor league pitcher, Tom Boleska, who needed just one pitch to end the inning with a fly out, leaving all three runners stranded.  

Jose Veras pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 8th for the Pirates.  Justin Thomas gave up another unearned run in the top of the 8th.  With one out, a fly ball to center field should have been either an out or a harmless single, but CF Gorkys Hernandez had trouble with the windy conditions.  He dropped the ball, then when he tried to pick it up off the ground, he dropped it twice more.  That allowed the runner to reach third base (3-base error).  An RBI single brought him in from third base.  Chris Leroux finished things up by retiring the side in the top of the 9th.  The Pirates rallied again in the bottom of the 9th.  With one out, DH Steve Pearce lifted a double into center field.  C Dusty Brown lined a single into right field, plating Pearce from second base.  Pedro Ciriaco pinch-ran for Brown, and he reached second base on RF Starling Marte's ground out, but another ground out by LF Alex Presley ended the game.  Marte had singled in the 7th inning, but was out at second on a force play.

Also getting into the game:  SS Corey Wimberly, SS Chase d'Arnaud, 3B Garrett Atkins,  2B Brian Friday, and 1B Josh Fields

2011 Prospect Watching: Marte and Grossman

Moving up through the outfielders in the Pirates' minor league organization:

Starling Marte  --  R/R,  6' 1",  170 lb
Marte is the much-heralded Latin American signing, joining the Pirates' organization in 2007, thanks to scout Rene Gayo. He reached the US after one season in the Dominican Summer League, and jumped up to A+  Bradenton to begin 2011.  Marte jumped out to an amazing start in April, with a .345 average and 9 RBI.  He did strikeout 15 times in 16 games, and also was hit by pitches 4 times in the month.  He kept up the pace in the first week of May (3 more RBI and 2 more times being hit by pitches), then suffered an injury to his left wrist.  Marte eventually had to have the hamate bone removed -- same surgery that Pedro Alvarez had in college.  Marte was out until August, but came roaring back with a .358 average for that month, and 21 more RBI.  He did not have a lot of power either before or after the injury, and his high strikeout rate continued after his return.  He also kept getting hit by pitches -- a total of 15 times over the season.  Marte has good speed, both on the base paths (22 stolen bases) and in center field.  Marte also got in 28 games with Los Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League.  He was surprisingly weak at the plate there, hitting just .213 with 3 RBI and one stolen base.  At age 22, he should be the main center fielder in AA Altoona for 2011.  He'll need to work on that strikeout rate and also work on taking more walks, but expect him to move along quickly.  I'm hoping to see Marte get a little bit of time in Indianapolis at the end of the season.

Robbie Grossman  --   Bats Both / Throws L,  6'1",  190 lb
Grossman was the 6th round draft pick in the 2008 draft.  He spent all of 2010 in A+ Bradenton, and managed to avoid the injury jinx there.  After hitting .266 at A level West Virginia in 2009, he started out with a .309 average for the Marauders in April 2010.  That didn't last long, though, as he slipped to a .185 average for the month of May and .222 in June.  The rest of the season was a little better:  .278 in July and .258 in August.  That gave him .245 over the whole season, with 29 doubles, 3 triples, 4 homers, and 50 RBI.  He hits right-handers better than left-handers (.333 vs. .279), so while he's a better lefty hitter, he's probably not ready to give up switching just yet.  Grossman's strikeout rate was about the same as Marte's in 2010, 118 strikeouts in 125 games.  Grossman played just over half of his games in right field, and just a few in left for the Marauders, and he slid over to center field when Marte was out with his injury.  Marte definitely has the edge over Grossman in center field, both in speed and throwing arm.  Grossman turned 21 shortly after the 2010 season ended, and that puts him in good position to be starting in Altoona for 2011.    

Blown Save For Machi; Minor League Contract For Fields

The Pirates have signed INF Josh Fields to a minor league contract.  Fields is an Oklahoma native who was the White Sox' first round draft pick in 2004.  He progressed quickly through their organization, playing mostly third base, and reached the major leagues in 2006, when he played in 11 games for Chicago after spending most of the season in AAA Charlotte (.305,  19 HR, 70 RBI).  For the next three seasons, Fields bounced between AAA and the majors.  With Charlotte, he totalled 25 homers and 85 RBI with a .262 average in 158 games.  He played in 193 games with the White Sox over those seasons, with a .231 average, 30 homers, and 99 RBI.  Fields was traded to the Royals after the 2009 season, but he got in little playing time during 2010 due to hip surgery.  He played in 13 games for the Royals in September, and his bat showed some promise -- .309 with 3 homers and 6 RBI.  The 28-year-old got in some make up for missed at-bats by playing for Los Senadores de San Juan in the Puerto Rican League during October and November.  In 22 games, he hit .200 with 6 RBI, though in his last week, he went 7-for-27 (.259).  Fields has been invited to the major league camp for spring training, and he will be competing for a utility spot on the major league club.  

Just a little action on Monday in the winter leagues as we cheer for a few Pirates' players and friends:

 DOMINICAN LEAGUE
Tigres de Licey  2,  Aguilas Cibaenas 0  --  
Los Aguilas were held to three hits and two walks -- one hit and one walk in both the first and last innings, plus a single in the 8th.  Starling Marte came into the game as a defensive replacement in center field for Los Aguilas, but he did not get an at-bat.  Los Tigres scored one run in the 2nd, on a single, a walk, and a fielding error.  They added an insurance run in the 8th, when DH Ronny Paulino led off with a single and was replaced by a pinch-runner.  A sacrifice bunt and a throwing error put the runner on third base, and 1B Robinzon Diaz brought him in with a fly ball and an error.  A single followed, but two runners were left on base.  Tigres' Denny Bautista pitched to 3 batters in the 8th inning and gave up a single.  

 
VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Tiburones de La Guaira  5,  Navegantes del Magallanes  4  --  
A solo homer in the bottom of the 10th inning broke a 4-4 tie, for Los Tiburones' win.  Los Navegantes plated 4 runs in the 4th, on a 2-run homer, followed by four singles and a sacrifice fly.  Los Tiburones got onto the scoreboard in the 6th inning, with a run on a double and an RBI single.  Jean Machi took the mound in the bottom of the 9th for Magallanes, but he was done in by three fielding errors (of the 5 errors committed by Los Magallanes).  A single opened the inning, then Machi got a pop out.  The first fielding error put runners on first and second, then Machi struck out the next batter.  Another fielding error loaded the bases, and the third error allowed 2 runs to score.  An RBI single gave Los Tiburones their third run of the inning and tied the score.  Machi was relieved at that point, and a fly out ended the inning.   

Veal Re-signed; Hits For Brown And Hague

Southpaw Donnie Veal will likely be back in Indianapolis in 2011.  He has signed a minor league contract with the Pirates today, and has also been invited to the big league camp for Spring Training.  After struggling through his mandatory year on the Pirates' major league roster as a Rule 5 Draft pick in 2009, Veal was assigned to the AAA Indians to begin 2010.  He made 9 starts for the Indians, with a 3-2 record and a 4.35 ERA over 49.2 innings before being shut down due to elbow issues.  Veal had Tommy John surgery in early June, and is expected to be ready to go for Spring Training.  

The signing of 1B Lyle Overbay is going to make things more difficult for the likes of Steve Pearce and Jeff Clement.  Both are working their way back from knee problems.  Pearce was granted one more option year because of his injuries last season.  

Other news of minor league contracts signed: Former Pirate Denny Bautista has signed with the Mariners.  INF Doug Bernier, who spent 2010 with the Indy Indians, signed with the Yankees.  P Vinnie Chulk signed with the A's.  Former Pirate P Jonah Bayliss signed with the Rays.  INF/OF Jonathan Van Every signed with the Nationals.  

Cheering for Pirates' players and friends in Wednesday's winter league games:

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Caribes de Anzoategui  4,  Bravos de Margarita  0  --  
Los Bravos were held to just 3 hits, along with 2 walks.  The first 13 Margarita batters went down in order before the first base runner reached on a walk.  They had 2 runners on base in both the 6th and 8th innings, but could not get them around to score.  Los Caribes scored one run in each of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings, then one more in the 7th.  In the 4th, LF Jose Tabata was hit by a pitch, then scored on an RBI double.  

Tigres del Aragua  3,  Cardenales de Lara  1  --  A 2-run homer in the bottom of the 11th by C Wilson Ramos broke the 1-1 tie for Los Tigres.  The homer came off Lara reliever Romulo Sanchez, who was charged with his second loss of the season.  Each team scored a run in the 2nd inning.  Los Cardenales' rally was started with a single by former Pirate farmhand CF Ray Sadler, then another single and two walks forced in a run.  Ramos doubled to lead off the bottom of the 2nd for Los Tigres.  He scored on a single by 1B Hector Gimenez and a sacrifice fly.  Both teams missed scoring opportunities in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings, but there was only one base runner for either team over the next four innings -- that was DH Lastings Milledge, who doubled in the 9th.  


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