called Jack Wilson into his office yesterday afternoon to deliver a compliment to the Pirates' shortstop.
"He said he was very proud of the way I played the last couple of days and said how he really wanted me to focus on having a good second half," Wilson said.
INDIANAPOLIS (52-41) beat Norfolk, 6-5. RHP Marty McLeary (1-2, 2.28) allowed three runs and five hits in 62/3 innings. RHP Jonah Bayliss (1.79) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for his 11th save. CF Chris Duffy (.296) hit his first home run, a three-run shot, and doubled in four at-bats.
ALTOONA (53-39) lost at Akron, 7-1. LHP Mike Connolly (6-4, 4.35) allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings. LF Nyjer Morgan (.290) went 1 for 2 with two walks and two steals.
LYNCHBURG (38-54) lost to Winston-Salem, 6-2. RHP Nerio Rodriguez (0-1, 7.71) allowed six runs in seven innings. C Neil Walker (.247) went 1 for 4.
HICKORY (45-48) beat Delmarva, 2-0, for its eighth win in a row. RHP Luis Valdez (5-2, 3.43) pitched a five-hit shutout, striking out seven and walking one. CF Andrew McCutchen (.279) hit his 11th home run and walked in three at-bats.
WILLIAMSPORT (7-16) lost to Lowell, 9-1. LHP Mike Felix (0-3, 3.20) allowed two runs, one earned, in 2 2/3 innings.
"He absolutely did everything," Tracy said. "You couldn't ask for any more than what I saw offensively, defensively, his approach to his at-bats. You can't play much better than he did this past weekend."
Against Washington, Wilson was 6 for 13 with three runs scored and three RBIs -- two of those on sacrifice flies.
Wilson's spree against the Nationals followed a funk during which he hit .190 in June.
"When I struggle, you can definitely see it in my face," Wilson said. "[Tracy] is definitely a guy who sees body language. He wants to nip that in the bud. He told me, 'Be confident in yourself. Our coaching staff is confident in you. You're going to be fine. Just be yourself and go out there and play.'
"It was a very good conversation."
"There are times he's too hard on himself -- when his sights are set a heck of a lot higher than they need to be," Tracy said.
Before the session with Tracy, Wilson did extra defensive work at shortstop with Alvaro Espinoza, the former Pirates coach who's now the organization's infield coordinator.
"[He's been] playing too shallow and giving range away," Espinoza said. "He has to realize that he has a good arm and good footwork. He just needs to play a little deeper and create the angles and keep that momentum going to first base."
Tonight, left-hander Tom Gorzelanny makes his first start since July 6.
Because he's a "touch-and-feel" pitcher, might Gorzelanny be a tad rusty?
"I think I'll be ready," said Gorzelanny, who's winless in three major-league starts. "This will be a big game for me. I don't have a win up here, and I think every game until that happens is going to be a huge game for me.
"I think I've been nervous and trying too hard and trying to do too much. Now I think it's going to be a whole different thing. I'm just going to pitch the way I know how to pitch and do what I need to do."
Gorzelanny threw three bullpen sessions since his previous start, which should be a help. As should his 12-day rest.
"With young pitchers, who are now pitching for six months instead of five months [the length of the minor-league season], sometimes a break becomes even more beneficial," Tracy said. "That's not why we did this, but, hopefully, it will be a good thing."
Casey on the way out?
Sean Casey said yesterday the Pirates haven't initiated any contract talks with him. Thus, it's beginning to look as if he could be part of the exodus of Pirates by July 31, the non-waiver trading deadline.
The San Francisco Giants, who are searching for a first baseman, had a scout at the Washington series. The Giants are mindful Casey lifetime is 45 for 96 (.469) in San Francisco, including 11 for 16 during the Pirates' four-game series there June 8-11.
"As a player [at this time of the season], you're kind of looking around and seeing what's happening," Casey said. "It's never a pretty time. There's a lot of uncertainty.
"All you can do is come to the park every day and do your job for the team you're with. It's kind of uncomfortable waiting for the deadline. You don't know what's going to happen. You don't know who's not going to be here. One thing that's tough about this game is the transition."
Jeromy Burnitz could be in the same boat with Casey.
"It doesn't seem like a foregone conclusion because I haven't really played that well," he said. "If you're scouting me, you're not jumping all over that. It's useless to even think about it. It's no big deal. You show up and do your job.
"It's just the nature of our business. When you're on a struggling team and there are guys who are moveable, it tends to happen. It's just part of the gig, part of the business, part of baseball. If guys focus on it, it takes energy away from executing your job and it can be distracting, no doubt about that.
"I just really try and work on things I can control, which are hitting the ball better -- honestly. The rest I have nothing to do with. I've found when you perform well as an individual, good things happen whether it's not getting traded, getting traded, getting a deal, not getting a deal. It's all about how you play."