Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson reaches for home plate as he's tagged out by Cubs catcher Geovany Soto in the fifth inning last night. Wilson apologized for remarks he made concerning team management.
By Colin Dunlap and Chuck Finder Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson did an about-face yesterday -- and he insists no one urged him to do it. Rather, he dug down deep within himself and knew an apology was what he should deliver.
Tuesday, in the wake of the latest round of trades made by the organization, Wilson was critical and, among other harsh things about management, he said he was "beyond, beyond tired" of such moves.
Yesterday, though, Wilson said that after a restless night he decided to issue the apology himself; not at the urging of his agent or anyone within the Pirates' organization.
Just after the clubhouse opened to the media before the game last night, Wilson urged reporters to come to his locker because he needed to get something off his chest. Looking contrite and sincere, he began:
"I really didn't sleep [Tuesday] night, I think some of my comments were pretty harsh. When you are here, and in the moment and you are talking to guys and everyone is bummed out, you tend to lose your head a little and vent. A lot of the things I said, I thought about [Tuesday] night talking to my wife, and they were pretty inaccurate, I would say.
"I definitely don't want to be that guy who is butting heads with the organization or trying to cause any type of negativity, so I apologize for that."
Asked if the hard part was the unknown about how the latest trades were going to work out, Wilson said that was a large part of his frustration, but refused to let that be an excuse for what he said.
"In any trade, you don't know what the back side is going to be, you don't know what Lastings Milledge is going to bring to this team, you don't know what [Joel] Hanrahan is going to do," Wilson said yesterday. "You just hope for the best. I think, for me, I was just so focused on losing a guy like Nyjer [Morgan] and losing Nate [McLouth] that it was more a negative than anything. ... It is passion. I love playing the game. ... A lot of it is that I want to be here when this turns around, I want to be on that field. Sometimes, though, you just get so passionate that it comes out in a negative way."
Pirates manager John Russell did not seem all that bothered by what transpired with Wilson.
"When you lose a teammate or a friend, that's a first reaction of anybody's, you hate to see him go," Russell said.
Hanrahan had 72 hours to report from the Nationals, but the former Washington closer came in early yesterday afternoon because, in part, he could not wait for a fresh start.
"I feel good here, so far," said the flame-throwing, right-hander with a mid-90s fastball but a flammable 7.71 ERA. "It's been a rough first half I went through closing, then getting moved out of that, going back to closing, then getting moved out of that.
"I know things weren't going real well in D.C., how I played. Hopefully, with a change of scenery, a change of luck might come, too. I look forward to going out there and trying to help this team win."
• The Pirates signed third-round draft pick Evan Chambers, an outfielder from Hillsborough (Fla.) Community College (.324 with 11 homers and 39 RBIs) and onetime Florida Gators player, and assigned him to State College. They also signed shortstop John Gourley (13th rounder) from Goldsboro, N.C., and right-handed pitcher Ryan Beckman (18th rounder) from Grayson (Texas) County College. That gives the Pirates 15 draft picks under contract, including their top four.
• Outfielder Jeff Salazar formally was placed on the roster last night and was in uniform; Garrett Jones -- also recalled after the trades Tuesday -- got his first major league start (in left field) since 2007 with Minnesota.
• The Pirates Charities auction on FSN Tuesday raised $76,100 for local youth programs, officials announced.
• The scoring was revisited, but the error charged to Wilson in the eighth inning Tuesday night was upheld.