ST. LOUIS -- The Pirates' ownership has yet to have formal discussions about the 2007 player payroll, but the maximum should be close to the roughly $48 million of this season, managing general partner Kevin McClatchy said.
"We haven't talked about it, and I haven't really even thought about it yet," McClatchy said this weekend. "But I would expect it to be kind of flat."
The degree of change, he meant.
The opening-day payroll this season was $47.9 million, but that was pared by several recent trades to the $30.9 million for the current 25-man roster. Because of prorated salaries already paid to departed players, the final amount the Pirates actually will pay out for the year projects to $44.6 million.
Much remains to be determined about the amount that might be left to spend on new acquisitions, whether through trade or free agency.
One possible major variable in the mix: The Pirates are due to pay the Oakland Athletics $5.5 million next year as the final financial component of the Jason Kendall trade of two years ago.
Wilson 'the same'
The effect of shortstop Jack Wilson's inner-ear infection remained "the same," manager Jim Tracy said. There is no timetable for his return to the lineup, though he remains available for pinch-hitting duty.
The expansion of 25-man rosters Friday might keep the Pirates from placing Wilson on the 15-day disabled list, but he will not resume full activity until he is symptom-free.
The idea of a six-man rotation -- mentioned by Tracy a week ago -- has been shelved indefinitely because of Tom Gorzelanny being placed on the disabled list with elbow tendinitis.
Gorzelanny could throw off a mound as soon as today.
Tracy's snapshot view of reliever Brian Rogers' major-league debut, a scoreless eighth inning Friday in which a walk was negated by a double play: "He threw strikes and showed good, late movement. He fulfilled the billing we've heard."
A statistical slice of intrigue from the system: Shortstop Brent Lillibridge, the Pirates' top prospect at Class A Lynchburg, has 13 home runs, 71 RBIs and 52 steals. That makes him one of three players in all of professional baseball to have double-digit home runs and at least 50 in the other two categories. The others are the New York Mets' Jose Reyes and Eugenio Velez of Class A Augusta.
INDIANAPOLIS (75-65) lost to Louisville, 6-2. RHP John Van Benschoten (1-1, 5.40) was removed after one inning because of what the Pirates described as tightness in his right shoulder. The team called the move precautionary. He allowed one run on two hits and two walks, throwing only 12 of 27 pitches for strikes. RHP Jesse Chavez (4.80) pitched a scoreless inning of relief. CF Vic Buttler (.329) went 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI.
ALTOONA (75-61) had its doubleheader with Bowie rained out.
LYNCHBURG (62-75) won at Salem, 3-1. RHP Luis Munoz (4-3, 3.82) pitched six scoreless innings despite four hits and as many walks. SS Brent Lillibridge (.313) went 2 for 3 with a steal and a run.
HICKORY (66-70) beat West Virginia, 8-5. RHP Jared Hughes (5-4, 5.77) allowed four runs, three earned, in five innings. He walked five, threw three wild pitches and hit a batter. DH Mike McCuistion (.259) went 2 for 4 with a double and four RBIs. 2B Shelby Ford (.265) went 1 for 3 with a double, two walks, an RBI and three runs.
WILLIAMSPORT (26-43) had its doubleheader at Auburn rained out.