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Snell ready for new opportunity in Seattle

Snell ready for a change of scenery

PITTSBURGH -- After suiting up for the Pirates organization for almost a decade, Ian Snell now steps onto unfamiliar ground.

With Wednesday's trade to Seattle alongside shortstop Jack Wilson, it will be the first time Snell won't be with the Pittsburgh franchise in his career.

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"I was happy," Snell said. "But at the same time, I'm going to miss a lot of people in the organization. I've been here since 2000 -- it's the only organization I've ever known. It's like a big family. But I think ... I just got a change of scenery."

Snell is expected to be optioned to Triple-A Tacoma before moving to Seattle's starting rotation.

"We got Ian Snell because he has a very nice arm," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "If we can get him back on track, he's a pitcher we can add to our Major League club. I just think he gives us a guy with three-plus years of experience, more than some of the guys we have on our staff right now. We'll see when he gets here."

The trade came after the 5-foot-11 pitcher had a resurgence at Triple-A Indianapolis. Snell was 2-8 with a 5.36 ERA in 15 starts for the Pirates this season before going down to the Minors and going 2-2 with a 0.96 ERA in six starts with the Indians.

Snell attributes some of the improvement to Pirates pitching coach Joe Kerrigan.

"I just listened to Joe Kerrigan and I listened to what he had told me about one little flaw in my mechanics," Snell said. "I worked really hard on it. And I worked really hard to gain back my fastball control. You know, just be happy, basically that's the thing he told me. Be happy and enjoy it. And that's what I did. Everything just fell into place."

Regarding his situation with his now-former team, Snell said he didn't think he refused to return to the Majors after he went to Indianapolis -- a choice he said was his own. As for why everything didn't work out in Pittsburgh, Snell said he couldn't put a finger on anything.

The pitcher added that while he had issues with general manager Neal Huntington and some others, they talked through them and wished each other the best of luck.

Huntington said he still thinks Snell has a chance to be a very good Major League pitcher.

"He went down to Indianapolis, he made some adjustments both on and off the field," Huntington said. "This is one of those that you feel uneasy sitting in this chair that you traded a guy that two years ago was a very good Major League pitcher, that at times has shown he still has Major League ability."

In 128 games (116 starts) in his big league career, Snell is 33-46 with a 4.75 ERA. He won 14 games in 2006 and posted a 3.76 ERA during 32 starts in '07.

Snell said the thought of possibly returning to the Pirates didn't cross his mind much while he was in Indianapolis because he was focusing on helping the Indians win games. But one thing he will take away from his time there is to have fun and laugh while also having more respect for the game. He also said he has a lot to prove -- and learn.

"I'm just going to continue to learn and grow as a person and a teammate," Snell said. "Not so much be that person that sticks out in the crowd, a loudmouth speaking out of turn. I think I learned my lesson about that -- it came back to bite me in the butt. I have a lot more respect for the game now than I've had since I've been playing."

Wayne Staats is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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