- The Pirates have reportedly contacted Ian Snell about a potential long-term contract. Financially, this is a smart move, as Snell’s salary will likely skyrocket once he reaches arbitration after this season. In addition, he has shown good durability, limiting risk to some extent. He has approached the team twice this offseason about an extension, and seems genuinely excited to stay in Pittsburgh. In fact, he described himself as “giddy” and explained that he “couldn’t settle down” while pitching yesterday. This seems to extinguish some of the silly perception that Snell hates Pittsburgh. I hope a new contract will not affect him the way it seemed to in yesterday’s game. Snell needs to keep that chip on his shoulder to be effective.
- The Pirates sent two players, catcher Carlos Maldonado and relief pitcher Josh Sharpless, to their minor league camp today. As with the demotions of catchers Steve Lerud and Milver Reyes on Sunday, these moves were not unexpected. Maldonado, 29, is nothing more than a fringe minor leaguer, and Sharpless must improve on his 2007 performance before he will be given an opportunity to pitch in Pittsburgh. Last year, he walked 40 in 68.2 innings split between the Pirates and Triple-A Indianapolis.
- The Pirates have decided to move Sean Burnett to the bullpen. This decision was inevitable, as Burnett has little chance of reviving his career as a starter. In the two years since he has returned from injuries, he has struck out only 77 while walking 85 in 190.2 innings at Triple-A Indianapolis. While he is still only 25, striking out less than four batters per nine innings at Triple-A does not bode well. Switching to relief is his only real option at this point.
- The Pirates will face the Toronto Blue Jays at McKechnie Field today at 1:05 PM. Tom Gorzelanny will make his second start of the spring and is scheduled to pitch two innings. Zach Duke is expected to throw three innings, as he attempts to rebound from a poor first start. The Pirates currently own the worst spring training record at 1-6.