"I don't want to run those guys out there collectively just yet, and not have something for them the next day," Tracy said.
Right now, Bay is the most usable of the three players. While he's recovering from offseason knee surgery, he looks capable of going full throttle. Tracy used Bay in left field in the 3-2 win over the Red Sox.
But Nady and Sanchez remained in Bradenton, Fla. Only Nady will likely see action in the day-night doubleheader Thursday against the Reds.
He took batting practice earlier in the day, and Tracy said Nady, who's battled an intestinal virus for most of Spring Training, reported some fatigue at the end of the session.
"I'll see where he is when I get back," Tracy said. "If he's OK to go, we'll venture into maybe seeing if we can involve him in one of those games tomorrow against Cincinnati.
As for Sanchez, he's not likely to see any playing time in the next two or three days. With a sprained knee, he falls into the day-to-day category.
"We're not going to rush him," Tracy said of Sanchez, who led the National League in hitting last season. "We're not going push him to the point where we say, 'We've got to get him out there.' We're not going to do that."
With each of these players, Tracy isn't stressing their absence -- yet. The Grapefruit League has plenty of at-bats left for Bay, Nady and Sanchez to pick up.
"I don't want to go too soon with them," Tracy said. "You still have to keep in mind that you've got 'X' number of exhibition games left to play."
Opening Day starter?
OK, so Tracy didn't anoint Zach Duke the Opening Day starter for the Pirates. No big deal, not even to Duke.
But Duke knows what an assignment like that would mean. Does he want it?
"What starting pitcher wouldn't?" Duke said.
Even so, Duke isn't about to lobby for it. He's content he said to continue to pitch well, as he did in his four-inning, two-run outing on Wednesday against the Red Sox. That's what's on his mind, not starting on Opening Day.
"I can't think about it," Duke, said. "I mean, I've said all along, 'As long as I get the ball every fifth day, I'm happy.'"
Duke pointed out that he'll likely have plenty of other shots at getting the ball on Opening Day.
"I'm still trying to establish myself," he said. "It's definitely not disappointing."
And the question is:
What role in Pirates history does Barney Dreyfuss play? [See answer below]
Did you know? Debs Garms captured a National League batting title in his first of two seasons with the Pirates. In 1940, Garms batted .355, and he went on to finish his 12 seasons in the bigs with a career average of .293.
Bucs notes: The Pirates had a string of nine games in which they banged out 10 or more hits snapped. They had seven against six Red Sox pitchers. ... Right-hander Ian Snell, who took over for Duke in the fourth, had another strong outing. In 11 innings, he's allowed three runs. He allowed none in his work against the Red Sox. And Snell's reason for his good work? "I just feel more comfortable with 'Trace' and where they see me being," he said. "I see where the team is going, so I'm on-board with those guys." ... The Pirates have a team batting average of .297.
The answer is: Dreyfuss, owner of the defunct Louisville club, acquired controlling interest of the Pirates in 1900. He brought 14 players from his Louisville franchise with him to the Pirates organization. Those players included three future Hall of Famers: Honus Wagner, Fred Clarke and Rube Waddell. All of them contributed to the Pirates becoming the dominant team in the league in the first decade of the 1900s. As an aside, Dreyfuss is often called "The Father of the World Series."
"Anytime you lose more games than you win, it's never satisfying." -- Duke, on how he felt about last season
The Pirates play a day-night doubleheader on Thursday against the Cincinnati Reds. In the first game, left-hander Paul Maholm will start against right-hander Kirk Saarloos at McKechnie Field at 1:05 p.m. ET. In the second game, right-hander Shawn Chacon will face left-hander Bobby Livingston at Ed Smith Field in Sarasota, Fla. at 7:05 p.m.