Pirates Notebook: Chacon, Armas, Izturis unlikely to stay
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SAN DIEGO -- Many changes could come to the Pirates in the coming months, but only three seem certain: Shawn Chacon will try free agency, and Tony Armas and Cesar Izturis will not have club options exercised.
Even though such decisions ultimately will be the responsibility of the new general manager, it is telling that no member of upper management has had contact with any of the team's veterans who can be free to leave the organization this offseason.
Chacon is in full control of his fate, with six years of Major League Baseball experience and a first crack at free agency, and he sounds prepared to try it.
"I'd like to stay, and I've said that all along," he said. "But we haven't heard from or talked to the Pirates in about a month, so it doesn't look like anything's going to happen."
That talk, instigated by Chacon, was between his agent and former general manager Dave Littlefield.
Players can file for free agency in the first 15 days after the final game of the World Series.
Armas and Izturis should be able to do so, too. Armas' option is $5 million with a $500,000 buyout, and Izturis' option is $5.45 million with a $300,000 buyout. With seven players in line for arbitration raises, there is no chance of keeping Armas, little of keeping Izturis.
Management's view of Armas' future was made clear when it removed him from the rotation last week even though he was coming off his finest start.
Armas bore no ill will.
"It's that part of the season where teams look at young guys, and I respect that part of the decision," he said. "I'm not going to be bitter or mad. I'm more than happy for a young guy to get a chance. I'll be ready to do whatever they ask me."
Wilson out until Sunday?
Shortstop Jack Wilson was held out of the lineup last night because of the pulled right hamstring that knocked him out of the game Tuesday. He will be reevaluated this morning but, with an afternoon game, a rapid recovery seems unlikely.
Wilson is leaving the team tonight to be with his wife for the birth of their third child tomorrow, so the earliest he could play again would be Sunday, the day manager Jim Tracy ordered him to return. If issues related to the birth prompt Wilson to stay with his wife, his return would be Tuesday because the team is off Monday.
Reliever Salomon Torres had an order from Tracy to return to San Diego the day after his wife gave birth Tuesday in Pittsburgh, but he did not arrive in time for the game last night. He is expected today.
Nate McLouth, one of the Pirates' most productive offensive players the past two months, was back in the lineup after being benched for four games in favor of Nyjer Morgan. McLouth took left field in place of Jason Bay, given a day to rest his sore knee.
Josh Phelps, another of the Pirates' top hitters, was on the bench for a 12th consecutive game. He has taken 15 at-bats this month after an outrageous August in which he batted .579 with four home runs in 31 at-bats.
Carlos Guillen told the Detroit Free Press yesterday that, if the Tigers decide to move him from shortstop to first base, he hopes they find someone other than Wilson to play shortstop. "I don't know what his numbers are," Guillen said. "He didn't win a Gold Glove." Guillen added he would rather have Izturis, Omar Vizquel or Edgar Renteria. Wilson, a three-time runner-up for the Gold Glove, had no response.
First Published September 20, 2007 12:00 am