PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Pirates badly need a reliable starting pitcher. Despite Ian Snell’s stellar statistics at Triple-A Indianapolis, it apparently won’t be him.
Snell has a 0.34 ERA in four starts since being demoted June 25, striking out 34 and walking eight in 261‚Ñ3 innings, but the Pirates don’t plan to recall him — at least in the near future — because of his apparent reluctance to return to the majors.
“Ian spoke publicly about not wanting to come back and it’s tough to bring a player back into a clubhouse with 24 other players when he’s been strongly adamant he doesn’t want to come back,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said Sunday.
After going 2-8 with a 5.36 ERA in 15 starts for the Pirates, the right-handed Snell told the team he was weary of pitching amid criticism in Pittsburgh and would welcome a demotion. Snell has been dominant in Triple-A, striking out 13 consecutive batters and 17 overall in seven innings during his first start, but has not lobbied to rejoin the Pirates.
“I think the team is better off without me,” Snell told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Huntington, a former Indians farm director, has encountered players angry at being sent back to the minors, but Snell is the first who isn’t eager to be in the majors.
Under normal circumstances, Snell would be recalled to replace No. 5 starter Virgil Vasquez, who is 1-3 with a 6.52 ERA in four starts. Instead, Vasquez is scheduled to start tonight against Milwaukee.
“It’s an odd situation,” said Huntington, who recently called the three-year, $8.6 million contract given to Snell last year a “mistake.”
The 27-year-old Snell’s attitude might be hurting his value on the trade market, as is his inability to win consistently in the majors. Snell was a 14-game winner in 2006, but is 18-32 since despite having above-average velocity and movement on his pitches.
“Many [teams] have the same feeling — they’re intrigued by talent, but puzzled by the ongoings,” Huntington said. “Teams still poke around and hope we’re ready to give up on him and just give him away, or they’re going to trade us their bad contract for what could be deemed our bad contract.”
XMonday’s Pirates game wasn’t completed in time for today’s edition.