HOUSTON -- The Pirates and the Hendricks brothers, who are advising second-overall pick Jameson Taillon and second-rounder Stetson Allie, met for almost seven hours Saturday. A source close to the situation described them as "constructive" and "good" discussions just two full days before the midnight Monday deadline.
Danny Allie, Stetson's father, said Saturday night his side remains "optimistic" that his son will sign with the club.
And this was after he had heard nary a word about the day's meetings between the negotiating parties.
Both the younger Allie and Taillon are power-pitching right-handers whose procurement would instantly launch the Pirates as one of the major league's top winners from the 2010 draft, if not the industry leader.
Upon arriving at Minute Maid Park late Saturday afternoon, general manager Neal Huntington and scouting director Greg Smith were noncommital about the daylong discussions with the Houston-based agents, Randy and Alan Hendricks.
However, both of the Pirates' draft captains were smiling and good-natured -- with the deadline rapidly approaching, that indeed can be read as a sign.
"We spent seven hours in our hotel rooms," Huntington joked, offering no details.
"Neal and I just met, and our meeting is done," added Smith.
The Pirates have spent roughly $2 million in bonuses in signing 24 other members of the draft class, and 15th-round pick Drew Maggi, a sophomore shortstop from Arizona State, is contemplating a club offer and may yet sign. The Pirates topped the majors in investing at $18 million-plus the past two years. It's expected to take an expenditure of another $7 million to $9 million to secure Taillon and Allie.
Despite a television camera capturing him kicking his right spike against the mound (to loosen tightness in his sock) and showing signs of right-calf pain (a minor ailment), reliever Evan Meek said he in no way was too hurt to pitch Friday night.
"I think if it would have gotten to the point where it hurt my throwing, I would have called timeout," Meek said of the eighth inning in which a 1-0 Pirates lead disintegrated into a 4-1 Astros triumph. The Pirates' 2010 All-Star permitted a run in only 13 of his previous 52 outings this year, and never more than two runs.
"My velocity wasn't down. It might have looked like I was in discomfort. There was discomfort. But it wasn't [preventing] me from throwing a ball."
Meek didn't want to specify, but added, "It's August. I got some aches and pains like everybody else." He reiterated that it's up to him to signal for the training staff, which he stressed continues to significantly assist him and his teammates.
"I wasn't waiting for someone to come out there," he added. "I was trying to regoup and get out of the inning. It was just a struggle."
• The last Pirates pitcher not named Paul Maholm to win in Minute Maid Park? Matt Morris Aug. 25, 2007. Maholm has been the pitcher of record in the Pirates' previous three victories in the venue: June 6, July 7 and Sept. 13 last season.
• For every run the Pirates -- and now that new lineup -- score in Houston this weekend, fans will receive a dollar off the $24 price of left- and right-field box seats for the New York Mets series next weekend. The prior lineup, of course, started the promotion by earning fans $1 off with Friday's 4-1 loss.