Pirates Notebook: Snell's remarks cause little stir

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Wednesday's results

INDIANAPOLIS (52-51) won at Columbus, 6-4. RHP John Wasdin (1-1, 6.37) lasted only two-thirds of an inning and allowed three runs on three hits, two walks and a wild pitch. LHP Juan Perez (5.26) allowed one run in 3 1/3 innings of relief and struck out five. 3B Jose Hernandez (.248) went 3 for 4 with two RBIs. SS Brian Bixler (.291) went 1 for 3 with a walk, three runs, an RBI and a steal.

ALTOONA (52-49) lost to Binghamton, 7-2. LHP Josh Shortslef (2-11, 5.06) allowed five runs in four innings. LF Jason Delaney (.348) hit his 16th home run -- seventh with the Curve -- and went 2 for 4 with a walk. 1B Steve Pearce (.332) and 3B Neil Walker (.297) each went 2 for 5 with a double. CF Andrew McCutchen (.243) went 0 for 4.

LYNCHBURG (43-55) lost at Winston-Salem, 3-1. RHP Todd Redmond (7-8, 4.70) allowed three runs in six innings. RF Brad Corley (.267) went 2 for 4 with a double.

HICKORY (49-52) beat Lake County, 4-3. RHP Mike Crotta (6-5, 4.73) allowed one run in seven innings. 2B Jim Negrych (.290) went 1 for 3 with a double and walk.

STATE COLLEGE (17-16) beat Aberdeen, 5-2. LHP Tony Watson (6-0, 1.63) pitched five scoreless innings and allowed two hits. C Andrew Walker (.327) went 2 for 4 with a double and RBI.

BRADENTON (13-17) lost to the Twins, 6-2. LHP Eddy Nunez (2-2, 3.54) allowed runs in innings. LF Ciro Rosero (.283) went 3 for 5 with a double and RBI.

NEW YORK -- "Baby Sheff."

That is Pirates reliever Shawn Chacon's new nickname for starter Ian Snell after Snell's recent string of controversial comments about the team and its losing ways.

"He's like Gary Sheffield," Chacon said, referring to the Detroit Tigers' slugger. "He just says whatever comes to mind, and he wears his emotions on his sleeve. But he's also young and inexperienced."

Yes, Snell knows about the nickname.

"Told him last week," Chacon said, grinning.

OK, so Chacon, Snell's best friend on the roster, can deal with it by joking.

How about the other players?

After the 8-4 loss Tuesday to the New York Mets, Snell publicly criticized the defense behind him in a four-run inning and openly questioned whether or not he was the only player troubled by the Pirates' dismal play since the All-Star break.

How did that get received?

"Ian's a great kid, and he means well," reliever Salomon Torres said. "But he does let his emotions get in the way a little bit, and some people might misunderstand what he's saying. But I don't think there's any ill feeling in any direction. He might regret something, and he'll come in and apologize the next day. He understands that he might have gone too far."

"Every team's got one of those outspoken guys, and you've got to kind of take things for what they're worth," left fielder Jason Bay said. "Usually, if he says something that's controversial or offends somebody, he'll apologize the next day. I love how competitive he is. We all do. It's better to have that than a guy who doesn't care. But he's probably going to have to learn to channel it a little better."

Often, Chacon said, he or other players among the team's leadership will talk to Snell, urging him to make sure -- as almost all sports teams do -- that internal matters remain internal.

This latest occasion, apparently, will be no exception.

"We've talked about it, and there's no doubt that you don't throw your teammates under the bus," Chacon said. "I knew he was mad about the defense during the game, but that's not something you say to the newspaper. I'll let him know about that."

Dodgers taking a look

The Los Angeles Dodgers have been scouting the Pirates' games in the past week. Though there is no specific information as to their pursuit, the Dodgers are seeking bullpen help, and the Pirates are offering as much as anyone: Damaso Marte, Torres and possibly Chacon if no contract is signed soon.

Los Angeles has a wealth of young players it is open to discussing, among them third baseman Andy LaRoche, brother of the Pirates' Adam LaRoche.

Armas rebounding

Tony Armas had perhaps the most forgettable first half of any pitcher in Major League Baseball, but he quietly has put together a fine July.

In five relief appearances this month, which includes one last night, he has a 0.00 ERA and has given up two hits and a walk in 10 1/3 innings. Most impressive for a guy who seldom got a swing and a miss in the first half: He has nine strikeouts.

"His command is better and his delivery, too," manager Jim Tracy said. "You see more life to the ball in the hitting area and, suddenly, we're seeing swings and misses."

Pitching coach Jim Colborn and bullpen coach Bobby Cuellar worked extensively with Armas in June, and Armas gave them credit.

"But it still comes down to confidence," Armas said. "I'm feeling really good now, and that makes the difference."

Buried treasure

Jose Castillo was back at third base after Matt Kata started four games there.

Tracy, on Oliver Perez's resurgence with the Mets: "When he's throwing strikes, he's tough. We saw that a few times last season when he was with us. He's capable, no doubt about it."


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