It probably will be close to the end of May before Jack Wilson is back.
The Pirates' shortstop, out since April 3 because of a strained left calf, yesterday was moved to a less aggressive timeline, one in which he will need two to three weeks before his return. The most recent tentative plan had him beginning a minor-league rehabilitation stint this weekend.
Two reasons: Wilson has yet to regain full defensive mobility as part of his workouts in Bradenton, Fla., and remains confined to being a designated hitter in extended spring training after a setback Friday. Management also has decided that, once he is ready for minor-league action, Wilson will need a full week of games rather than the originally prescribed two or three games.
"It's just been too long that he's been out," general manager Neal Huntington said
The new tentative plan has Wilson joining Class AA Altoona for a four-game series May 19-22 in Akron, then staying with the Curve for four home games May 23-26.
INDIANAPOLIS (17-17) lost at Richmond, 6-5. RHP Adam Bernero (0-0, 5.19) allowed four runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. RHP Jesse Chavez (1.69) allowed two runs in two innings of relief. RHP Marino Salas (0.82) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings. CF Kevin Thompson (.344) went 2 for 5 with a double. 3B Neil Walker (.188) went 1 for 4 with a double. RF Steve Pearce (.252) went 0 for 4. CF Andrew McCutchen (.290) missed a second consecutive game to the flu.
ALTOONA (13-19) lost at Akron, 3-2. LHP Corey Hamman (0-5, 5.03) allowed two runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings. 1B Jason Delaney (.333) went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
LYNCHBURG (14-18) beat Winston-Salem, 10-2. RHP Mike Crotta (3-2, 3.25) allowed two runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. SS Brian Friday (.300) went 4 for 4 with two doubles and a triple. RF Jamie Romak (.333) hit his second home run and went 2 for 3 with a walk.
HICKORY (15-19) lost to Savannah, 10-9. RHP Emilis Guerrero (0-3, 7.66) allowed nine runs, six earned, and 12 hits in 3 2/3 innings. 3B Robert Spain (.277) went 3 for 5 with a double and two RBIs.
From there, if all goes well, he will join the Pirates May 27 in Cincinnati.
"I hope," Wilson said yesterday.
The primary issue, he said, is his inability to break to his left on grounders.
"I can do everything else, but the calf is still tight, and I can't make that move."
The inactivity, from the sound of it, is getting to him. He has had wife Julie and his three children with him, "which has been great," but he watches the Pirates' games longingly from afar.
"I'd give anything to be out there. I've been to Blockbuster 50 times down here, and I never was at a Blockbuster in my life before this."
Reliever Evan Meek, the Rule 5 draft pick the Pirates designated for assignment over the weekend, cleared waivers yesterday afternoon. That required the Pirates to offer him back to Tampa Bay, his original team, for $25,000 -- half his original price -- or negotiate a trade.
The latter remains the Pirates' intended route, likely through a cash payment to the Rays, though a player transaction has not been ruled out. The teams have until Tuesday to reach an agreement, that being 10 days after Meek was designated.
Others teams have called the Pirates to inquire about trading for outfielders Jason Bay and Xavier Nady, but management is not prepared to move either -- or any primary contributor -- until it rules out contending in 2008.
Management is known, however, to be looking at acquisitions through lower-profile trades or waiver claims, with three openings on the 40-man roster.
• Starter Tom Gorzelanny, whose turn was skipped earlier this week, threw a side session on flat ground and remains on schedule to pitch Saturday.
• Jonathan Sanchez, the San Francisco starter rocked for seven runs in four-plus innings Tuesday, complained that PNC Park has "the worst mound I have ever pitched on" because it was too flat. No other pitcher, home or visitor, has complained about it, including his pitching counterpart Zach Duke, who had his best outing of the season.
• Penguins coach Michel Therrien attended the game.