Pirates Notebook: Wilson deal was close, still being discussed

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Wednesday's results

INDIANAPOLIS (56-55) split a doubleheader at Richmond, losing, 11-1, and winning, 7-1. In the first game, RHP Runelvys Hernandez (1-7, 4.35) allowed nine runs and 13 hits in four innings. In the nightcap, RHP John Van Benschoten (7-4, 2.50) pitched six scoreless innings and allowed four hits. He struck out three and walked four. For the day, 1B Steve Pearce (.455) hit his 26th home run in the nightcap -- first in Class AAA -- and went 3 for 7 with two RBIs and a steal. SS Brian Bixler (.285) went 0 for 2 with a walk.

ALTOONA (56-52) was swept in a doubleheader with Reading, 4-3 and 3-2. In the first game, RHP Yoslan Herrera (6-6, 4.70) allowed four runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. In the nightcap, LHP Kyle Bloom (0-1, 1.80) allowed three runs in five innings. For the day, CF Andrew McCutchen (.253) hit his seventh home run and went 2 for 5 with a walk and a steal. 3B Neil Walker (.288) went 0 for 3 with two walks.

LYNCHBURG (46-59) lost to Frederick, 10-6. RHP Derek Hankins (8-4, 4.98) allowed four runs in 1 2/3 innings. CF Pedro Powell (.240) went 3 for 5 with a double and two RBIs.

HICKORY (52-55) lost at Charleston, 3-2. RHP Dustin Craig (2-2, 3.68) allowed one run in four innings. LF Albert Laboy (.271) went 2 for 3 with a double and a walk.

STATE COLLEGE (19-22) lost at Mahoning Valley, 7-1. RHP Nicolas Suero (1-3, 3.53) allowed four runs in five innings. RF Erik Huber (.264) went 2 for 4.

BRADENTON (14-21) was off.

The Pirates and Detroit yesterday continued talks aimed at trading shortstop Jack Wilson to the Tigers, multiple sources confirmed.

The sides failed to close by Major League Baseball's 4 p.m. Tuesday deadline for non-waiver trades, but players still can be moved and added to a postseason roster by Aug. 31, so long as they clear waivers. Because Wilson is owed $14.5 million for the two seasons after this one, it is highly likely he would clear.

How close was the deal to being done?

One source intimately familiar with the matter said that a deal was virtually done Tuesday and that the Pirates would receive two of Detroit's top six prospects, including an unnamed pitcher ready to join the major-league staff. But the sides haggled on how much of Wilson's contract the Pirates would pick up, the source added, and the delay was on.

It is possible Wilson already is on waivers, but that process is not made public.

Morris to pitch Saturday

Newly acquired Matt Morris will make his first start with the Pirates Saturday against the visiting Cincinnati Reds.

He did not arrive yesterday, as he had to travel from Pasadena, Calif., to San Francisco, then to Pittsburgh, but he is due to report this morning.

Tom Gorzelanny had been scheduled to pitch Saturday, but he was pushed back to Sunday to buy an extra day of rest after he missed a turn to shoulder stiffness. He will throw a bullpen session today to solidify his status, but all signs are encouraging.

Ryan on the way?

Morris' arrival will prompt a roster move, likely the demotion of a pitcher and addition of an outfielder from Class AAA Indianapolis to replace the departed Rajai Davis.

The best outfield candidate for a promotion, by a wide margin, is Michael Ryan, a native of Indiana, Pa., who just completed a terrific July with 10 home runs, 25 RBIs and a .299 average. Overall, he has 14 home runs, 42 RBIs and a .271 average.

Ryan, 30, spent parts of 2002-05 with the Minnesota Twins and had a fine spring with the Pirates.

The most likely pitcher to return is reliever Jonah Bayliss, recalled last weekend.

Buried treasure

Ronny Paulino was back behind the plate last night despite another dismal defensive showing Tuesday, but it was difficult to tell if manager Jim Tracy might have benched Paulino had he not needed Ryan Doumit -- the only other catcher -- to play right field in place of injured Xavier Nady.

Nady reiterated his confidence that his strained left hamstring will allow him to return tomorrow and that the disabled list is unlikely.

Morris' placement in the rotation allows Tracy to choose from Tony Armas or Shane Youman for the next opening Wednesday in Phoenix. One of those two will come out, but Tracy would not say which one after Armas' fine outing last night. "We have some things to sort out," Tracy said.

The Pirates yesterday clarified two aspects of Morris' contract: He is making $10,037,283 this season, but San Francisco is responsible for everything above his base salary of $9.5 million because it is part of a deferred signing bonus. As a result, the Pirates' prorated portion of the 2007 salary is $3.34 million. Also, it is the Giants who will pay that unusual $2 million bonus at the expiration of the contract. Thus, the Pirates' guaranteed commitment to Morris is $13.84 million.


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