No timetable for Wilson's return

No timetable for Wilson's return

PITTSBURGH -- After a month of projecting and pushing back tentative return dates for Jack Wilson, the Pirates are now going to stand in a holding pattern until further notice.

A left calf strain that wasn't expected to keep Wilson out past April has since proven to be much more of a lingering bother. Setbacks during the recovery process have Wilson still limited in the on-field work he can do in Bradenton, Fla., and have pushed him back to the point where the Pirates are hesitant to make any projections on when to expect their veteran shortstop back with the big league club.

"It's getting to the point now where we just want him to be healthy," manager John Russell said prior to Thursday's game. "To pick a date on the calendar, we are just getting ahead of ourselves. Trying to project a date until he gets on the field is going to be hard to do."

The Pirates still plan on having Wilson get some at-bats in a handful of Gulf Coast League games before he joins one of the Minor League affiliates for his final rehab assignment. The timetable for both of these things, however, is going to be based on Wilson's feedback of his own recovery.

As of now, it doesn't appear Wilson will be cleared to play in any of those GCL games until next week, at the earliest.

Getting the necessary defensive work isn't going to be the only holdup for Wilson now either. Because of the extended time he has missed, he will also need to play in more Minor League games than initially anticipated in order to get himself ready to swing the bat when he to the big leagues. What was expected to be a two- or three-game stint is now likely to last closer to a week.

"It wouldn't be fair to bring him up without getting him ready to hit as well as play defense," Russell said. "We've tried to be as cautious as we can. Is it lasting longer than we hoped? Sure. But we can't rush it."

Wilson has been sidelined since April 3.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.