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Pirates' Clubhouse Laments Departure Of Reliever Brendan Donnelly

While analysts pick apart Sunday's demotion of Brad Lincoln to AAA Indianapolis and DFA of reliever Brendan Donnelly, there's no doubt the moves have left a void in the clubhouse, especially the departure of Donnelly:

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"He definitely was a ... real leader, took charge," first baseman Garrett Jones said. "It's their decision. You just go along with it. But we're going to miss him. A great guy in the clubhouse. A warrior out on the field. A good guy to have on your side."

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"He was the only leader ... that would step up and say stuff and not care [about teammates' feelings]," Meek added. "Any time you make a trade or get rid of a leader in your clubhouse, it's not going to be popular. There's a business side to the game, obviously."

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The Twitttersphere was also surprisingly abuzz over the move when normally light tweeters Paul Maholm and Joel Hanrahan spoke up.

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Also sad to see Donnelly go he was a great teammate and leader. True professionalless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

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Tough weekend for us and even tougher after the game, Donnelly is an awesome person and helped our whole team and myself alot, great leaderless than a minute ago via web

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Now in his late 30s. Donnelly may be facing the end of a unique career. As the  Philadelphia Inquirer wrote in April, he is the last active replacement player in baseball from the 1994 player strike.

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If this is the end of the line for Donnelly, it certainly makes for a compelling underdog story. Few could have expected that a man once ridiculed on a championship team would one day close a dark chapter in baseball history by leaving a new generation of young baseball players as a respected leader. While Donnelly is in many different ways a reminder that baseball is a business, there's no doubt he'll be missed by the Pirates' clubhouse, and perhaps soon, all of Major League Baseball.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.