SAN DIEGO -- Travis Snider made his first right-field start since May 18 for the Pirates on Tuesday night. He naturally had a lot of people wondering whether it would also be his last.
The hard-working Snider is a left-handed hitting right fielder -- matching the description of the guy behind the curtain seemingly waiting to be introduced to center stage any day. When Gregory Polanco arrives, what becomes of Snider?
Snider has been too busy producing off the Bucs' bench to give that any thought himself.
"We're here in San Diego," Snider said before the Pirates took on the Padres in the middle game of their series. "The business is the business but, at the end of the day, focusing on something that isn't here is gonna take away from what we need to do to prepare each and every night. We've got to remain focused on that. However things play out, that's how they'll play out."
Snider is part of the Pirates' National League-best pinch-hitting corps, having gone 7-for-22, with a home run and five RBIs, in that role.
The other player who figures to be most affected by Polanco's arrival is Josh Harrison, who has become an everyday player and ignited the Bucs the last couple of weeks with his production from the top of the order.
"I've always been a day-to-day guy," Harrison said with a smile. "Whatever happens, happens. I'm keeping my focus on today's game and what I can do to help us win."
Polanco, also being groomed to take over as the Bucs' leadoff batter, was in Indianapolis' No. 1 slot for the third straight game Tuesday night, at Syracuse. He was 1-for-4 with an RBI, the only one of the Indians' 5-1 loss in Syracuse. Polanco had gone 4-for-9 in his first two games atop the Indians' lineup.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has yet to get a report from Indianapolis counterpart Dean Treanor on Polanco's adjustment to the leadoff role.
"I haven't spoken with him since Sunday [prior to Polanco's leadoff debut]. I'll let Dean watch him for a few days before getting into that," Hurdle said.
Lots of hit batters, but no angst
SAN DIEGO -- Baseball has had its beanball wars. On Monday night, the Pirates and the Padres had a beanball tea party, as far as the acrimony spurred by six hit batters was concerned.
Each team had three batters plunked. The Bucs' Charlie Morton nailed three, and San Diego's Alex Torres clipped Starling Marte and Neil Walker before mound mate Donn Roach added another hit on Walker.
Yet, neither the teams' tempers, nor plate-umpire Seth Buckminster's suspicions, were raised. No warnings were issued. The restraint was owed to the locations of most of the errant pitches; Morton, for instance, had difficulty controlling an extremely breaking curve and bounced a couple off the feet of San Diego batters.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle admitted the circumstances were unusual.
"I don't think I've ever been involved in a game with six hit batters -- and no warning," Hurdle said. "And not a lot of angst."
Of course Hurdle had not been involved in a previous similar game. Few have. According to research by MLB.com's Roger Schlitter, it was only the second time in modern (post-1914) NL history that each team had three hit batters. The first instance also involved the Pirates, on August 15, 2007 against the Mets.
Otherwise, it was business as usual for the Pirates, on both ends of those HBPs. The Bucs continue to lead the Major Leagues in getting hit (35) and in doing the hitting (36).
Walker (10) and Morton (13) are the individual Major League leaders in those categories.
First number, last word
10: Saves in May for Mark Melancon, tied for most in the Majors with San Francisco's Sergio Romo.
"That, too, can be contagious. They're feeding off one another, and we're getting results we haven't been getting around here for a while. Their numbers are solid, and productive." - Pirates manager Clint Hurdle on the Bench Bunch of Gaby Sanchez (8-for-21 pinch-hitting), Jose Tabata (7-for-21) and Travis Snider (7-for-22), who have also combined for 16 RBIs in a pinch.
• Jordy Mercer's Monday night breakout was truly historic. He is credited with having become the first eighth-place hitter in (post-1914) Pirates history to have a four-hit, four-run game.
That had been accomplished only 16 previous times by No. 8 hitters in NL history -- most recently by ex-Pirates batting champ Freddy Sanchez, with the Giants on Aug. 24, 2010.
• Lefty Tony Watson was one of 15 Major League relievers with a spotless 0.00 ERA in May, but no one else in the National League managed it with a workload to match his 13 2/3 innings. Boston's Burke Badenhop (15 innings) was the only one of the 15 to pitch more.
• In their 10-3 win in the series opener, the Pirates laced nine hits with men in scoring position, their most since getting 10 against Atlanta on July 17, 2010.
• Stolmy Pimentel (shoulder inflammation) will make his next rehab outing Friday for Double-A Altoona; he is scheduled to throw three innings in Trenton.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.