06/14/07 7:59 PM ET
Notes: Van Benschoten to join rotation
Former top pick will start Saturday vs. White Sox
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
The roster move marks the third bullpen addition the Pirates have made in the past week. They called up Masumi Kuwata on Saturday, Dan Kolb on Tuesday and now Van Benschoten, a 27-year-old right-hander who Pittsburgh is hopeful has fully recovered from the surgery he had on his right shoulder in 2005.
Van Benschoten will make his first Major League start since 2004 on Saturday against the White Sox. The Pirates have not announced what move they will make to open up a spot on the 25-man roster for Van Benschoten. An announcement can be expected after Friday's game.
Van Benschoten has made 12 starts for Indianapolis this season, going 6-4 with a 2.73 ERA. His last start came Friday, when he exited the Indians' game after allowing two earned runs in four innings.
While Van Benschoten's promotion allows the Pirates to test out his arm at the Major League level, it also affords Pittsburgh the opportunity to improve its bullpen by moving Chacon back into a pivotal relieving role.
With Salomon Torres on the disabled list until at least June 25, and the Pirates still waiting to hear word on Matt Capps' suspension appeal before Major League Baseball, the composition of their bullpen has been in constant flux lately. Tracy is hopeful that Chacon can provide that missing stability.
"It's something right now that, when you look at it, it's something that the club needs," Tracy said of Chacon's presence in the bullpen. "It's an area of the club that we have been trying to shore up and we are going to do it with the best piece we have. He is the best piece we have available."
Chacon is expected to serve as the primary right-handed reliever during the seventh and eighth innings, teaming with left-hander Damaso Marte to try to bridge the starting pitchers to Capps. This will also allow Tracy to push right-handed reliever Jonah Bayliss out of such a crucial, late-inning role.
"We want to do something that is very necessary for our club's success," Tracy said. "Shawn Chacon's versatility and what he was doing earlier in the season, it makes sense to either strengthen that area with a guy who has been throwing the ball very well for us since the beginning of the season.
Chacon started the season out of the bullpen before moving into the fifth spot in the rotation when Tony Armas proved ineffective in it. His four starts since then have been somewhat of a roller-coaster ride. Sandwiched between starts where Chacon didn't last through the fourth was a game in which he tossed a 10-strikeout gem.
Chacon will be available out of the bullpen beginning with Thursday's series-concluding game against Texas.
Wilson finds answer: A day after venting some frustrations about not being able to get adequate answers as to why he was not in the starting lineup, Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson said he has talked with general manager Dave Littlefield and has found the answers he was looking for.
That's not to say that Wilson's not itching to get back in play. However, he has taken his benching with the only attitude he knows: a positive one.
"In no way, shape or form am I going to complain because I'm not playing," said Wilson, who started 58 of the team's first 65 games. "The bottom line is I wasn't doing the job. I'll make the adjustments. I'm not whining about not playing, I just want to know what I can fix to get back to help the team."
Wilson's season-long struggles offensively coupled with Jose Castillo's solid play as of late earned Castillo his fourth straight start at shortstop on Thursday. Castillo has gone 5-for-10 during his last three starts with three RBIs and has played solid defense up the middle, finding himself in the center of numerous crucial double plays.
Sitting on the bench is not something Wilson has been accustomed to during his big-league career. From 2002 to 2005, he has averaged 150 games each year, and even with a handful of injury and medical problems last season, Wilson played in all but 32 of the team's games.
So how does he deal with watching the game from the dugout? Wilson said it's not very hard when he puts baseball into perspective.
"I've got two kids. I don't go home mad," Wilson said. "To me, we're winning games. What kind of teammate am I to sit here and complain if these guys are playing great?"
Bautista blazing: Lost in the fanfare of Ian Snell's first Major League complete game on Wednesday night was another outstanding performance from Pirates third baseman Jose Bautista at the plate.
Bautista reached base four times during the game and finished only a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. In two games against the Rangers, Bautista has five extra-base hits.
Bautista's development as a leadoff hitter has come surprisingly quickly. And it hasn't gone unnoticed by Tracy, who admitted that he wasn't quite sure what to expect when he put Bautista in the leadoff spot to try to find someone to set the tables offensively.
Bautista said his success was just a matter of understanding and capitalizing on the role he has been asked to play.
"I have a pretty good plan of what I wanted to do," said Bautista, who is batting .329 since moving into the leadoff spot in late May. "It's just a matter of going out and executing, and that's what I have been able to do the last couple of days."
And that plan?
"Just getting a good pitch to hit, swinging at strikes and even at times taking a borderline pitch here or there, even if I know it's a strike to make the pitcher earn it and let these guys behind me get a look at all the pitches a pitcher throws."
Bucs bits: After turning eight double plays against the Rangers in the first two games of the series, the Pirates now rank second in the National League with 72 double plays. The Rockies have turned 73. ... Snell put down two more flawless sacrifice bunts on Wednesday night, giving him a Major League-leading nine on the season.
Quotables: "I'm really clueless" -- Capps, said with a grin, on when he expects to hear back from Major League Baseball about his pending suspension
"First of all, this is a gorgeous ballpark and the city did an incredible job hosting the All-Star Game. Hopefully there are a lot better things ahead from a team standpoint, but from an individual standpoint, that was a big honor." -- Texas shortstop Michael Young, on his return to PNC Park, where he was the 2006 All-Star Game Most Valuable Player
On deck: The Pirates open a three-game series with the White Sox at PNC Park beginning on Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Left-hander Paul Maholm (2-9, 5.33 ERA) will make the start for Pittsburgh against Chicago right-hander Jon Garland (4-3, 3.42).
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.