SAN FRANCISCO -- The Pedro Alvarez case could take even longer to settle.
The matter is seen by some as too complex for the one hearing scheduled for Wednesday in New York, and there already has been discussion that arbitrator Shyam Das will need more than one hearing in the grievance filed by the Major League Baseball Players Association against commissioner Bud Selig's office, alleging that extensions were granted by Selig for teams to negotiate deals -- including the Pirates and Alvarez -- past the Aug. 15 deadline.
If another hearing is deemed necessary, it might not be until well after the season that a ruling is issued. Two reasons for that: One, Das has a busy docket, and Wednesday was one of his few open dates this month. Two, Das is expected to need two to three weeks after cases are made to make his ruling.
The Pirates have arranged for five players to participate in winter leagues: Reliever Dave Davidson and outfielders Nyjer Morgan, Steve Pearce and Chris Duffy are set for Mexico. Reliever Jesse Chavez is set for the Dominican Republic.
Some veterans will play in those leagues, as well, as part of their offseason regimen, sometimes just for short stretches. One planning to go the distance in the Dominican is catcher Ronny Paulino, who will be trying to make up for losing six weeks to a sprained ankle this summer.
Kyle Stark, director of player development, said the decision was made not to send the Pirates' top prospect, outfielder Andrew McCutchen, because he made close to 600 plate appearances with Class AAA Indianapolis.
The Pirates will not renew the contract of Tim Leiper, manager at Class AA Altoona, for 2009. He joined Class AAA Indianapolis manager Trent Jewett and hitting coach Hensley Meulens in that category.
Leiper told the Altoona Mirror he had differences with the Pirates' management.
"'I think I was probably doomed before I even started," Leiper said.
• Shortstop Jack Wilson resumed throwing yesterday -- with some discomfort -- and could be moving toward a return in the four-game set that begins tonight in Houston.
• Robinzon Diaz, the catcher acquired in the Jose Bautista trade, made his Pirates debut, as well as appearing in his second major league game. He had first major league hit, RBI and steal and threw out a runner trying to steal.
• With 36 players -- including injured pitcher Phil Dumatrait -- and several extra coaches and other staff in the fold, the clubhouse has been as tight as some veterans have seen any clubhouse. Three buses have been used to transport the team.