MILWAUKEE — Jason Kendall went 3 for 5 in the Pirates’ first game back from the All-Star break. So much for him being distracted by trade rumors involving the Colorado Rockies.
Kendall hasn’t been concerned with the speculation that he might be traded for left-hander Denny Neagle.
“Not a bit,” Kendall said Friday. “I’ve had no problems having a six-pack and getting my 12 hours of sleep.”
The situation might be different if this was the first time Kendall’s name has surfaced in trade discussions. He heard various rumors in 2000 before he signed his six-year, $60 million contract extension.
“You start thinking about it then because it’s your first time going through it,” he said. “Now, I could give a rat’s (rear end).”
Kendall also can sleep better because he knows he can block any trade. His contract includes a blanket no-trade clause.
“They have to go through me in order to do something,” Kendall said. “But I haven’t heard anything, and I don’t think anything is going to happen. I think the media is trying to take something and run with it.”
When he signed his extension, Kendall said he would like to spend his entire career with the Pirates. That hasn’t changed, although he does want to play for a contending team.
“Do I want to leave Pittsburghâ¢ No, I don’t,” he said. “Do I want to keep losingâ¢ No, I don’t.”
In an apparently unrelated matter, the Pirates have scout Pete Vuckovich watching the Rockies’ series this weekend against the San Francisco Giants.
Vuckovich, however, began the major-league phase of his scouting coverage after the break, and he said the Rockies are one of the teams he follows.
The pierogi costume characters might be a hit at PNC Park, but they came up short in their debut at Miller Park.
Invited to race against the Brewers’ famous sausage characters, the pierogi people were edged in a relay event that was held Thursday night in the sixth inning.
The four-on-four race apparently was not scripted, and the outcome wasn’t predetermined. The pierogis were in the lead until late in the third leg when there appeared to be some contact between the two characters.
“There was a bad exchange in front of our dugout,” said Pirates outfielder Adam Hyzdu, who was an interested observer. “A critical part of any relay race is the exchange.”
Accusations of cheating were raised after the race.
“I don’t know if there was any tomfoolery or ballyhoo,” Hyzdu said, “but from what I cold see, it was on the up and up. It looked like they choked.”
Outfielder Brian Giles wasn’t surprised by the outcome.
“The bigger sausage always wins,” he said.
And Kendall’s take on it?
“Who cares?” he said.
MANZANILLO MAKES IT BACK
Right-handed reliever Josias Manzanillo is expected to rejoin the Pirates in time for tonight’s game against the Brewers.
The Pirates were pleased with the medical reports after Manzanillo pitched two innings Wednesday night for Class A Hickory in his minor-league injury rehabilitation assignment.
“He came through it OK,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He’s healthy as far as we know.”
Manzanillo made one appearance with the Pirates before experiencing right elbow discomfort that led to surgery May 7.
POKEY PICKS IT UP
Second baseman Pokey Reese is better known for his defense, as the two Gold Glove awards he has in his trophy case attests. But Reese also can be dangerous with the bat. He contributed a bases-loaded, two-run single Thursday night in the Pirates’ 3-2, 10-inning victory over the Brewers.
Reese may be batting .237 this season, but he is .366 with runners in scoring position. With Reese on the field, McClendon thinks the Pirates are eight to 10 games better than without him.
The trouble is, Reese often is in the trainer’s room. He has started only 56 of 89 games because of various injuries.
“Maybe we need to rest him one day a week to help try to keep him away from nagging injuries that keep him off the field,” McClendon said. “They started in spring training and keep coming. But I think (Thursday) night we saw how good of a team we are when he’s on the field.”
AGAINST THE GRAIN
McClendon went against the so-called “book” when he ordered an intentional walk to Richie Sexson in the 10th inning. That put the winning run on first base.
Mike Williams struck out Alex Ochoa to end the game.
“You can call it what you want, I was going to walk him,” McClendon said.
McClendon didn’t like the matchup between Sexson and Williams. Sexson was 3 for 5 with three walks and no strikeouts. Ochoa, however, was 2 for 9.