Rodriguez given 15 days to heal
PITTSBURGH – Wandy Rodriguez will get a couple of weeks to work out his problems.
The Pittsburgh Pirates placed their struggling starting pitcher on the 15-day disabled list Monday because of inflammation in his right knee.
Rodriguez, who didn’t pitch after June 5 last season because of tightness in his forearm, has made four starts this season. He is 0-2 with a 7.65 earned run average and 1.600 WHIP. He has allowed seven home runs in 20 innings.
“In his last start he complained of some right knee discomfort,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He had an MRI, saw the doctor, and I guess they extracted a large amount of fluid from his knee.
“That’s all I’ve got, and that’s the last question I’m going to answer about his knee.”
Hurdle’s terse response may suggest the Pirates have grown weary of Rodriguez’s lack of availability over the last 11 months.
The Pirates recalled righthander Jared Hughes to help out in a tired bullpen. It is believed that’s just a temporary move, though, and they’ll bring up a starter to handle Wednesday’s game against Cincinnati.
“We have a couple of guys in house,” Hurdle said. “We’ll see who lines up.”
After the fight: Travis Snider, who was punched from behind in Sunday’s brawl with Milwaukee, had a bruise and a cut near his left eye. Snider was slugged by Martin Maldonado, and the punch broke the sunglasses Snider was wearing.
The Pirates were angry about Maldonado’s actions, which came as Snider was being wrapped up by Milwaukee’s Rickie Weeks.
Weeks was attempting to pull Snider away when Maldonado landed the punch, which Snider didn’t see. He didn’t know who had hit him until he watched video of the third-inning confrontation.
“When you talk about guys coming in and throwing cheap shots, that’s a line that’s been crossed,” Snider said.
The trouble started when pitcher Gerrit Cole said something to Carlos Gomez about standing at the plate to admire the ball he’d just hit, thinking it was a home run.
Gomez took exception and stepped toward Cole, which led to the dugouts and bullpens emptying.
“When I saw Gomez take his helmet off and push the umpire to the side, acting like he’s going to do something physically to our pitcher, who said something to him and walked away…that’s when I’m going to leave the bench and protect my teammates,” Snider said.
Joe Torre, who handles disciplinary issues for MLB, spoke with Hurdle on Monday afternoon. Hurdle said he wouldn’t comment on their conversation.
“I shared my views with Joe and we’ll see how it plays out,” Hurdle said. “Sometimes in this game we lose respect for the opposition and lose respect for the game. That’s when it can get complicated. Our guys showed they play the game with intensity and will support and back a teammate when called upon to do so.”
Hurdle declined to elaborate, but said the Pirates and Brewers had a verbal confrontation earlier in the series when both teams were on the field during batting practice.
Challenge issued: One Pirates player wasn’t willing to let the issue die.
In fact, catcher Russell Martin challenged Maldonado to a fight after the season.
“It would be fun to see how Maldonado acts in a one-on-one type situation, to see if he’s the same kind of guy,” Martin said. “Maybe we can arrange something in the offseason. We can raise some money for charity and he and I can battle it out.
“I’m throwing it out there. If he wants to do that, and he wants to have a fight for charity in the offseason. My contract comes up at the end of the season, so before I sign a [new] contract, I can do whatever I want. I’d be completely willing to do that. So if he’s up for that, I’m down.”
Martin said he was getting a “little heated just talking about it again” because he felt Maldonado took advantage of circumstances to take a cheap shot at Snider.
“He got a free shot,” Martin said. “In my code, you don’t throw a punch at somebody unless they’re looking you in the eye. I might get criticized for saying what I’m saying, but I honestly don’t care. When it’s mano-a-mano and it’s equal grounds, then it’s fair. But when you’re getting held back and someone takes advantage of that, I don’t see where that’s fair.
“Should he be suspended? It shouldn’t even be a question. You hit somebody in the face when a teammate has that guy around the neck, you should get suspended.”