Pirates GM: Mientkiewicz's door still open
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BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates general manager Neal Huntington was adamant this afternoon that the door is open for free-agent utilityman Doug Mientkiewicz to return, and he blamed Mientkiewicz's lingering frustration with the team's lack of communication on Mientkiewicz's now-former agent.
Mientkiewicz had been represented by Greg Landry, but he dismissed Landry earlier this week and soon will replace him with Steve Hilliard.
"It's very rare for a GM to talk directly to a player during the offseason. That's why they have agents," Huntington said. "Doug and I have had and continue to have a good relationship. When his agent [Landry] contacted me, I made the dangerous assumption that that was all I needed to do, just talk with the agent and the agent would update Doug on our conversation and our thoughts. And I thought I would get an accurate representation of Doug's thoughts from his agent."
Huntington estimated that he spoke with Landry about Mientkiewicz about a half-dozen times through the end of December.
"We haven't made a formal offer, but there's been dialogue," Huntington said.
Of Mientkiewicz's chances of returning, he added: "Right now, the opportunity that we have to offer Doug isn't what he's looking for. He's still looking for more playing time. As a result, there hasn't been a fit yet. But the door is still open. Doug is going to evaluate his best fit. We're going to evaluate the makeup of our bench. There still can be a match."
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First Published January 14, 2009 3:53 pm