4/21/2014 6:11 P.M. ET
Snider: Sunday's actions meant to support teammates
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- Sporting a major shiner on his right eye and standing by his locker in front of a picture of him and somebody who fought for a living -- Mike Tyson -- Travis Snider said his actions in Sunday's altercation with the Brewers were "being there for my teammates."
Snider was not in the day's lineup but after words between Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole and Milwaukee leadoff batter Carlos Gomez emptied both dugouts and bullpens, Snider found himself face to face with Gomez.
After Gomez raised his batting helmet in a threatening manner, Snider charged him and was in the grips of others when Martin Maldonado -- also not in the game -- punched him from behind, smashing his sunglasses against his eye socket.
Snider and Gomez were the only players ejected from the game (along with Milwaukee bench coach Jerry Narron). Major League Baseball continues to review the incident -- sparked when Cole colorfully called out Gomez for flipping his bat and making a slow getaway from the batter's box after hitting what became a fly ball off the center-field fence -- and is expected to hand out suspensions soon.
Snider had not been available to comment on the incident following the conclusion of what became a 14-inning game, won by the Brewers, 3-2. He filled in the blanks on Monday, starting with an apologetic view of the whole thing.
"It's not something that we want to promote to the kids and fans, that this is just a bunch of thugs out here throwing blows. But when push comes to shove, I'm going to be there for my teammates," he said.
"As soon as somebody takes the helmet off and physically acts like they're going to go on one of the players, as a teammate I'm going to stand up to him. You don't come in throwing punches that nobody sees, against somebody who can't defend themselves.
"I know in a fight you don't throw a punch when somebody's got his arms wrapped up by another player," added Snider, who indicated he did not know the identity of the perpetrator until viewing video in the clubhouse.
Maldonado had already knocked a Pirates player out of the weekend series, his high spikes on a slide into second base on Friday catching the right ankle of regular shortstop Jordy Mercer, who has yet to return to the starting lineup.
"The actions speak pretty clear to what your intentions are," Snider said, tersely, "and what you're trying to do when you're out there on the field. We all play the game hard, but …"
As for one of the men behind the entire scenario, Snider called Gomez "a fantastic baseball player."
"He's fun to watch, except for when he's doing it to our team," Snider said. "What he did is what he did -- but when you're talking about guys coming in and throwing cheap shots, that's a line that gets crossed."
Hurdle, Pirates move on from Sunday's melee
PITTSBURGH -- Clint Hurdle had given Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, his take on Sunday's fight between the Pirates and Brewers earlier in the day and he was in no mood to share his perspective with the media.
"I shared my views with Joe, and we'll see how it plays out," said Hurdle. "Sometimes in this game, we do lose respect for the opposition and for the game. That's when it can get complicated."
Hurdle was more willing to expound on the potential effect of such an incident, which saw inactive Travis Snider take charge as the war of words between Gerrit Cole and the Brewers' Carlos Gomez threatened to escalate.
Any effect, that is, beyond the benefit that could result if Martin Maldonado accepts Russell Martin's challenge. The Pittsburgh catcher, still upset at Maldonado's rabbit punch on Snider, wants to get in the ring with the Milwaukee catcher.
"If he wants to have a fight for charity in the offseason, my contract comes up at the end of the season," Martin said. "So before I sign a contract, I can do whatever I want. If he's up for that, I'm down. [His action] wasn't necessary. I know in his mind he's protecting his teammate. But he wasn't. He got a free shot in there. I'm getting a little heated just talking about it.
"In my code, you don't throw a punch at somebody unless they're looking you in the eye."
As for the trite suggestion that such altercations can galvanize and inspire a team, Hurdle didn't shy away from a possibly unpopular view.
"I've played on teams where a spark or altercation actually can help," Hurdle said. "But we're already motivated. We just haven't played well enough collectively to have won more games.
"What was in evidence there is that our guys are going to play with intensity. They will support a teammate when called upon to do so."
First number, last word
2-for-14: Pedro Alvarez's batting line following walks of Andrew McCutchen, who entered Monday night's game leading the National League with 15 bases on balls.
"We need to finish things off better on the mound. That will help us." - Hurdle, after consecutive losses in the last at-bat to Milwaukee, on whether the on-field skirmish with the Brewers could turn out to help his club.
• Because of their workloads during the weekend, Jason Grilli, Tony Watson and Jeanmar Gomez were all not available out of the bullpen Monday night, with Brian Morris only a "maybe."
• Jordy Mercer (right ankle) again was available off the bench, but still not able to return to shortstop.
"He can run in a straight line, or even on the bases. But movements in the field are still a little limited," Hurdle said. "He's closer. We'll know more tomorrow, after we run him harder [in workouts]."
• The Pirates' bench entered Monday's game leading the NL with 11 pinch-hits and 10 pinch-hit RBIs. In the previous four games, Pittsburgh pinch-hitters were 5-for-9, with a homer and five RBIs.
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.