PITTSBURGH -- Travis Snider couldn't help it. The Pirates had just dropped a rain-prolonged 11-4 game to the Reds, but as Wednesday morphed into Thursday, he was the only one wearing a grin in their PNC Park clubhouse.
For the first time in a decade, since he had been a high school freshman, the outfielder had pitched.
"It's not something you strive for," said Snider, alluding to a blowout compounded by a rain delay, "but when the opportunity presents itself, I think all of us -- pitchers and hitters alike -- like to see what it's like on the other side of the ball. It's fun. But it was a tough day for the ERA."
Pitching the ninth inning, Snider allowed the Reds' final two runs. So he retired for the evening, and perhaps for his pitching career, with an ERA of 18.00. Snider allowed only one hit, a double to Billy Hamilton, but he walked two.
One of the walks was to J.J. Hoover, in one of those fantastical confrontations. It was the Cincinnati reliever's first big-league at-bat, but in the Minor Leagues, he had been 0-for-17 with 14 strikeouts.
And Snider walked him, then ended the inning with a strikeout of former National League Most Valuable Player Joey Votto.
"A lot of good pitchers haven't struck out Votto," noted Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "Snider will probably hang onto that ball for a little while."
"I was able to throw some strikes when it mattered. I'll remember that last one forever," said Snider, holding the ball with which he had gotten Votto to swing over a changeup. Snider's pitches ranged from a 76-mph changeup to an 86-mph fastball. "I don't think Joey would want to sign it for me, but that would be kinda cool.
"I felt the changeup was working pretty well. I was having a tough time locating the fastball, but I thought I changed speeds well. I saw 85-86 [mph], and that was pretty surprising for how terrible my mechanics were."
As he spoke, Snider wore a pitcher's badge of honor: an ice pack around his left arm.
Across the room, Edinson Volquez had a laugh at Snider's expense.
"He is going to be so sore tomorrow. His whole side will be sore," Volquez said with a smile.
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.Less