A pierogi no more, but he can still hot dog it

Criticism over leadership contracts can be hard to take when it comes from a stuffed dumpling.

So the Pirates fired the racing pierogi, but now he has another appetizing career option.

Andrew Kurtz, 24, of New Brighton, Pa., was supposed to stick to between-inning costumed footraces at PNC Park, events inspired by the Milwaukee Brewers' racing sausages. But he criticized the stealth extensions given to GM Neal Huntington and manager John Russell on Facebook and was fired last week.

Now, an independent minor-league team southwest of Pittsburgh, the Washington Wild Things, has offered Kurtz a job as one of its racing hot dogs.

But the indignity of it all - after you're accustomed to moving among a better class of cuisine - could be too much to handle, frankly.

Cliff Lee deal?

For a guy everybody wants to keep, Cliff Lee sure moves around a lot.

Tim Kurkjian of ESPN says he may be only one start away from trade talks on the part of Seattle, which probably can't afford to re-sign the southpaw.

It was around this time last year that Cleveland traded him to the Phillies, so this would be his third trade within a year.

"Now, Lee is a pure rent-a-player, and so you'd have to think, by logic, the Mariners wouldn't get as good a package as the Indians did for him," the Seattle Times' Larry Stone writes. ". . . Yet I believe [GM Jack] Zduriencik could have a chance to get a real feeding frenzy going for Lee, who now has the added bonus of last year's playoff numbers," including a 2-0 mark with a 2.81 ERA in the World Series for the Phillies. "I'd think teams with World Series aspirations would be willing to give up some good pieces of their future to obtain that kind of clutch pitcher."

Status update: Not returning texts

As the Dodgers put righthander Carlos Monasterios on the DL over the weekend, manager Joe Torre was taking stock of his options. Evidently, "not returning texts" qualifies as a status category for roster candidates.

Torre said the club had not heard from lefthander Scott Elbert, who got permission this month to leave triple-A Albuquerque due to a family issue. Torre said bullpen coach Ken Howell had texted him and not heard back.

"I'm sure the fact he hasn't done well professionally at this point in time sort of magnifies everything else," Torre said. "Sometimes the pressures of this game, especially when they sort of pile up on you, sometimes you just have to get away."

And sometimes you just forgot your cell.

Noteworthy

The Toronto Blue Jays designated third baseman Edwin Encarnacion for assignment. . . . The Cleveland Indians optioned lefthander David Huff to triple-A Columbus.