Notes: Wilson ponders future with club
Hot-hitting shortstop uncertain of role under new mangement
PITTSBURGH -- Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson has been on a torrid stretch at the plate since the beginning of August. But Wilson isn't sure if the strong second half will keep him in the Pirates plans for the future, with a new CEO and general manager coming on board soon.
"Who knows?" Wilson pondered on Monday. "The new guys that come in might not like me. You never know -- someone interviewing could say, 'The first thing I'm going to do is get rid of this guy.' You never know what's going to happen. Obviously, that was where it was going with Dave [Littlefield] possibly trying to move me."
Wilson hopes he isn't twisting in the wind during the offseason.
"The only thing I know is hopefully I will get a little more information about what the future holds," Wilson said. "Whoever the new people are, just say, 'Hey, this is what we see and this is what we are trying do. We're going to try to move you or we're going to try to keep you.' Just so there isn't that big question mark in the off season."
Wilson was honored as the NL Player of the Week after batting .615 in his last seven games.
Pirates manager Jim Tracy was pleased that Wilson was recognized.
"He deserves it," Tracy said. "Player of the Week -- go back to -- do they have a player of six weeks award? He's done nothing but be an offensive weapon for us since the first of August. He's done a terrific job."
Wilson is hitting .418 (41-for-98) with 13 doubles, five homers and 23 RBIs in his last 31 games.
"It's just one of those things you definitely don't take it for granted; you keep working in the cage," Wilson said. "I'm just seeing the ball good and putting good swings on it, not swinging at balls and getting my pitch and not missing it. That's pretty much how streaks happen. It's not missing the pitches that they make the mistakes on."
Pirates hitting coach Jeff Manto shed some light on Wilson's surge at the plate.
"What I think has happened is that about a month and a half ago, we got together and decided that his bat path could be better," Manto said. "Once we got together and game planned, we worked on his bat path being tighter and cleaner and we're seeing the results of some good clean swings."
Wilson had been the subject of intense trade rumors before the July 31 trade deadline. When he stayed with the Pirates, he took off at the plate.
"It's a coincidence, I think, more than anything since it ended," Wilson said. "But I'm just playing better -- I've always been a second-half guy over the last three or four years. I always have the same thing I do during the All-Star break: I go home and take a couple of rounds of batting practice for two to three days to keep the swing. I've always said, 'Just finish strong and have a good second half,' and that's the way my career has been the last three or four years."
Injury report: Xavier Nady sat out a seventh straight game on Monday with a mild concussion suffered on Sept. 3, when he was hit in the head by a pitch from St. Louis' Andy Cavazos. Nady is still experiencing headaches and won't be cleared to play until they go away.
"Nady's MRI was negative," Tracy said. "He still gets headache-type symptoms that come and go very quickly. We're going to try and do things as controlled as we possibly can. He'll hit in the cage; I doubt if he'll hit on the field, and he'll probably do some work in the weight room. It's still day-to-day with him.
Jason Bay was also out of the starting lineup on Sunday and the Pirates left fielder had a MRI Monday.
"He's going to play catch," Tracy said. "He take batting practice and there is a chance that he could be available to pinch hit -- we would obviously pinch run for him, but that will be a game time decision."
Lefty Paul Maholm has been sidelined by tightness in his lower back.
"Maholm played flat-ground catch on Monday," Tracy said. "If everything goes well there, he could be available for a bullpen session as early as tomorrow. [Salomon] Torres [who has been on the 15-day disabled list with right medial elbow inflammation] threw on Sunday in the bullpen, and I believe he will have another session before we move on him, but he's getting close."
Lefty Zach Duke, sidelined with elbow tendinitis, is close to returning.
"Duke is OK today and in all likelihood, we will do something with him tomorrow," Tracy said. "He threw an extended bullpen on Saturday and because of the amount of work he did Saturday, he didn't have any availability yesterday or today. Tomorrow he would have been, so if he's OK, we will move to reactivate him tomorrow."
Steeler BP: Hines Ward and Deshea Townsend of the Pittsburgh Steelers were on hand for batting practice, taping a segment for Townsend's local television show. Both players took some cuts in the cage and Ward hit a home run.
On deck: The Pirates host the Brewers in Game 2 of the series at 7:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Right-hander Bryan Bullington (0-1, 15.00) will start for the Bucs. The Brewers will counter with right-hander Yovani Gallardo (7-4, 4.27).
George von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.