By JOHN PERROTTO —
Starting catcher Carlos Ruiz suffered a pinched nerve in his neck while playing for Panama in the World Baseball Classic and backup Chris Coste has been slowed by a strained hamstring. That has left Paulino and prospect Lou Marson seeing most of the action behind the plate.
The Pirates traded Paulino to the Phillies last December for catching prospect Jason Jaramillo. The Phillies have been impressed with Paulino this spring as he has shown a better work ethic than during his final two seasons with the Pirates, when his weight ballooned to as high as 290 pounds.
“He’s done fine,” Phillies Assistant General Manager Scott Proefrock said. “Competition is a wonderful thing. Obviously, he’s had some success in another organization, had a setback last year and now he’s got a chance to bounce back with us.”
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Potential roadblock: Pirates right-hander Ian Snell almost saw his chance to pitch for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic get scrubbed last month.
It turns out Snell is technically not of Puerto Rican heritage. It is his stepfather, Juan Davila, who is a native of Puerto Rico.
Initially, the WBC wanted to rule Snell ineligible to play for Puerto Rico. However, when Snell was able to provide paperwork that proved he was raised by Davila from the time he was 2 years old, WBC officials relented.
Snell went by the name Ian Oquendo for a while when he was pitching in the Pirates’ minor-league system in honor of his wife, who is also Puerto Rican. Now, he is considering going by Ian Davila-Snell in honor of his stepfather.
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Martin’s son dies: There was tragedy for a former Pirates player this past week as Al Martin’s 17-year-old son Brandon was found dead in a Scottsdale, Ariz., home on Monday morning. Police have not revealed the cause of death.