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Former Pirates Manager John Russell Sent To Orioles' Bench

In a somewhat interesting story, former Bucs' skipper John Russell has apparently lost his job as the Baltimore Orioles' third base coach. O's skipper Buck Showalter says it's not due to performance, but the two apparently disagree at least a bit on that:

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Showalter, however, insisted Russell — a former big league catcher — was moved to bench coach because he has a sore knee and can provide advice to catchers Matt Wieters and Craig Tatum between innings.

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"I think I kind of took initiative with it more than anything because he is not going to say anything physically (about the knee)," Showalter said.

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Russell dismissed the knee as a non-issue, but acknowledged that his new position as bench coach will give him a chance to work with Baltimore's catchers.

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Russell believes the 'benching' is perhaps due to his error in judgment in getting a runner thrown out at the plate recently:
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The switch comes less than a week after Russell waved pitcher Chris Jakubauskas toward the plate with no outs in the fifth inning of a game against Washington. Jakubauskas was running from first on a double by J.J. Hardy, and by the time he arrived the catcher was waiting with the ball. Jakubauskas was tagged out after an awkward slide.

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"You try to look for ways you can score, and sometimes it backfires and you get a guy thrown out," Russell said Friday. "I probably shouldn't have done that, but you never know."

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If Jakubauskas' name sounds familiar, it should. He was the Pirates pitcher on the mound that got hit in the head by a nasty line drive by the Houston Astros' Lance Berkman in a game last season  ... when Russell was manager. I'd have to see the play but trying to get a pitcher home from first, even on a double, sounds like a very questionable call. And the fact that Jakubauskas was thrown out by a mile, not Russell's knee, is the likely reason he's now riding the pine.

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