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Pirates outfielder Snider looks sharp in return to action

Pirates/MLB Videos

Monday, March 3, 2014, 10:13 p.m.

BRADENTON, Fla. — Travis Snider isn't the only player in spring training who had trouble with sharp kitchen utensils.

Snider sliced his finger a few days before camp while chopping sweet potatoes. He made his first start in right field Monday, when the Pirates outlasted the Boston Red Sox, 7-6.

Right-hander Jake Peavy was supposed to start for the Red Sox, but he was scratched after cutting himself with a fishing knife. Snider found out about Peavy's injury via Twitter.

“We've got to come up with some kind of protective glove or something,” Snider said. “Freak things happen.”

Snider went 1 for 2, delivering an RBI double in the third inning. He moved well in the outfield, showing no ill effects of the offseason surgery to remove bone spurs in his foot.

“It was good to get back out there and run around a little bit,” Snider said. “When you don't play for a handful of months and then get back into it, there's going to be adjustments to make. I feel good about the work I've already put in. I'll play a few more games, get some more at-bats, and we'll see where we're at.”

The Pirates hoped to make Snider their everyday right fielder last season, but he batted .215 in 111 games. This spring, Snider is competing against Jose Tabata, Andrew Lambo and Jaff Decker for the starting job.

“All those guys' (skill) sets are somewhat similar,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “The reps and experience will come into play. We'll watch and try to bundle some at-bats so they can all get in a good rhythm and good groove and see who's giving us the best approach, the best at-bats and the best defense out there.”

Liriano sharp

Left-hander Francisco Liriano needed only 25 pitches to cruise through two innings. After being replaced by Edinson Volquez, Liriano threw 10 more pitches in the bullpen before calling it a day.

Liriano said his fastball command was crisper than in his first start and his sinker also was better.

It's still a matter of getting the feel and making mechanical tweaks to refine the two-seamer.

“I need to find a consistent release point for my sinker,” Liriano said.

Volquez also worked two innings and yielded one run on one hit and two walks. After piggy-backing twice with Liriano, Volquez's next outing will be a start. The right-hander will pitch the first three innings Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota, Fla.

Sanchez on mend

Gaby Sanchez tweaked his knee Friday while making an awkward, aborted slide into third base during the game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Tests showed no structural damage, and he took some swings in the batting cage Monday morning. There's no timetable for when Sanchez will return to action, and he is not on the travel list for Tuesday's game against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fla.

Fishing for Carp?

Mike Carp was Boston's designated hitter Monday and hit a two-run homer off Bryan Morris. The Pirates have scouted Carp, who can play first base and left field, as a possible trade acquisition.

Last season, Carp played in 86 games and batted .296 with a .885 on-base plus slugging percentage. A left-handed batter, Carp hit .321 with a 1.120 OPS in 34 plate appearances off the bench.

“His acceptance of the (backup) role can't be overlooked,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “He has a very compact swing, a low-maintenance swing, so we felt he'd be equipped to handle inconsistent playing time.”

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.




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