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Pirates notebook: Rodriguez placed on DL, Hughes promoted

| Monday, April 21, 2014, 3:24 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Wandy Rodriguez delivers to the plate during the first inning against the Brewers on Saturday, April 19, 2014, at PNC Park.

Perhaps a significant contributing factor to Wandy Rodriguez's struggles was identified Monday as the club placed the left-hander on the 15-day disabled list with right knee inflammation.

Rodriguez had tests done and fluid drained from his knee Monday, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. Rodriguez will miss his next scheduled start Thursday. Hurdle did not announce who would replace Rodriguez in the rotation or address how much time he might miss.

The Pirates recalled relief pitcher Jared Hughes from Triple-A. Pirates relievers Stolmy Pimentel or Jeanmar Gomez could be used as a starter to replace Rodriguez. The Pirates also have Jeff Locke and Brandon Cumpton at Indianapolis, each of whom started games last season.

“Wandy is not sure how he hurt his knee,” Hurdle said. “He had gone to the training room after his last start and complained of right knee discomfort. ... Felt it a couple times in his last start and didn't think anything of it. ... That's all I've got, and that's the last question I'm going to answer about his knee.”

Rodriguez has a 7.65 ERA. His fastball velocity has been down nearly 2 mph from his 2013 level, and he has struggled with command. In 20 innings, Rodriguez has allowed seven home runs.

Snider OK after taking shot

Travis Snider had swelling around his left eye Monday after being punched in the face by Milwaukee Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado during Sunday's brawl. He had a black eye and a cut below his left eye, but Snider said he doesn't have a fracture or concussion and pronounced himself fit to play.

“I probably should be playing hockey looking like this,” Snider said. “We don't want to promote to the fans that this is a bunch of thugs out here throwing blows, but when push comes to shove, I'll be there for my teammates.”

Snider said he decided to rush the field after he saw Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez advance toward Gerrit Cole.

“When I saw Carlos Gomez take his helmet off and push the umpire to the side acting like he is physically going to do something to our pitcher, that's when I'm going to leave the bench and protect my teammates.” Snider said. “(Gomez) took his helmet off and starting swinging at me.”

Snider was punched by Maldonado while restrained by Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks.

“I know in a fight you don't throw a punch when someone has his arms wrapped up by another player,” Snider said.

It's not the first time the Pirates have taken issue with Maldonado. Earlier in the series, a hard slide by Maldonado injured shortstop Jordy Mercer, who was held out of the lineup Monday for a third straight day. Hurdle said Mercer is improving.

“The actions speak pretty clear,” Snider said of Maldonado.

Hurdle declined to offer thoughts on which players should be suspended, but he spoke with Joe Torre on Monday. Torre handles discipline for Major League Baseball.

Martin-Maldonado pay-per-view?

A day after the Easter brawl, catcher Russell Martin was still upset with what he described as a “sucker punch” by Maldonado. Martin offered a creative way to resolve the controversy.

“If (Maldonado) wants to have a fight for charity in the offseason, my contract comes up. Before I sign a contract, I can do whatever I want. I'd be completely willing to do that. If he's up for that, I'm down,” Martin said. “I know in his mind he's protecting his teammate. But he wasn't. He got a free shot.”

Said Maldonado before Monday's game: “I don't know what to say about it.”

Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at tsawchik@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.

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