Ian Snell yesterday sought to clarify remarks he made Sunday shortly after striking out 17 batters in his return to Class AAA Indianapolis, including an apparent jab at the Pirates' catchers.
"I didn't mean anything at all, and I hope those guys know that," Snell said yesterday, referring to Jason Jaramillo and Robinzon Diaz. "They do a great job. All I was saying after the game was that Kratz did a great job, too."
That was Indianapolis catcher Erik Kratz.
This was what Snell said Sunday: "I owe a lot of credit to Kratz. He did a tremendous job of setting up, you know. He didn't set up too early where they can see where I'm going. He mixed the pitches real well and, when I left a pitch up, he reminded me, 'Your elbow is hanging over' or 'Your head is bouncing over.' A lot of it had to do with him, and I have to give a lot of the credit to him because he did a great job of game-calling."
Joe Sroba, Snell's agent, responded respectfully to Pirates general manager Neal Huntington's characterization of Snell's 2008 extension as a "mistake" in the Post-Gazette yesterday.
"I think he is a good man doing the best he can at each moment in time under then-current circumstances," Sroba said of Huntington. "Similarly, I know Ian has always tried to pitch well and is doing the best he can to get back to pitching the way he knows he can. That is what he is paid to do. Unfortunately, words get in the way ... in ways he does not intend."
Huntington, always describing a "balance" between the present and future, said that a strong run by the current team would keep him from making veteran-for-prospect type trades.
"We don't want to underestimate this club," he said. "If we believe this club can compete, it makes it difficult, if not impossible to make moves. But the difference is competing and winning 82 games. I know there are a lot of fans who are dying to see us get over that .500 mark. But the next statement will be, 'Well, this team hasn't made the playoffs in 17 years.' "
• Third baseman Pedro Alvarez, the Pirates' top prospect, did not start for Class AA Altoona last night because of mild tendinitis in his right knee -- he and catcher Steve Lerud collided Sunday pursuing a popup -- but should return "in a couple days," director of player development Kyle Stark said.
• Catcher Ryan Doumit took his last full batting practice with the team. He will head to Bradenton, Fla., to begin his rehabilitation assignment.
• Manager John Russell lobbied for Zach Duke to make the All-Star Game: "He's been very consistent. He's deserving." Second baseman Freddy Sanchez is the Pirates' other realistic candidate.