Looking ahead at the Bucs

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Pirates are in the second half of the season, and here are some thoughts looking ahead:

n Josh Harrison’s injury highlights the need for another bat, and another starter would be welcome, too. The Pirates have been fortunate with the health of their starting rotation in a season where their back-up options are limited.

But it would also be good to get some help for the bullpen. The heavy workloads on Jared Hughes, Tony Watson and Mark Melancon could be a factor in August.

n Speaking of length of season, this will soon become uncharted territory for Jung Ho Kang. He never played more than 133 games a season in Korea, and averaged 124 games a season. He played in his 74th game on Saturday.

n You can drive yourself crazy replaying drafts, but what if the Pirates had selected Buster Posey instead of Pedro Alvarez in 2008?

Who knew that Alvarez’s defense at first base would be as big an issue as his throwing problems from third base were? Alvarez always had quick hands while playing third, but that hasn’t translated to his move across the infield.

He already has 15 errors, more than twice the total of any other first baseman.

n Corey Hart, on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, now has knee problems. Hard to believe there’s a spot for him on the Pirates’ roster any longer. That was one of those gambles on a bounce-back season that didn’t pay off.

n There are only 90 feet between bases, yet the Pirates manage to have some incredible adventures covering those distances. Would it be legal to attach a GPS unit to each uniform sleeve?

n The second half schedule is a challenge. The Pirates will face good teams and have some tough road trips. Then again, if you’re going to win anything, you have to beat good teams and win on the road.

Looking good

The only significant takeaway from the All-Star game: Everyone should look as good at 79 as Sandy Koufax does.

Always selling

Now you know why MLB insists that every team be represented in the All-Star game.

If someone from the Arizona Diamondbacks wasn’t on the team (and therefore on TV), how would MLB be able to sell a limited edition Diamondbacks All-Star cap?

Remembering Ron

Condolences to the family and friends of Ron Halbritter, who passed away recently at 76.

The Altoona native worked security at the media gate at PNC Park. He also officiated college and high school games in several sports and proudly served his country in the United States Marine Corps. He was a friend to everyone who works in our part of the ball park.

We will miss him.

Mehno can be reached at: johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com