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Wilson off to fast start in return

Wilson off to fast start in return

ST. LOUIS -- Just three games into his return from a left calf strain, shortstop Jack Wilson hasn't shown the offensive rustiness that even he had been expecting after such a long layoff.

Wilson started all three games in Cincinnati and finished 5-for-13. This came after the veteran shortstop started the season with just one hit in 12 at-bats before landing on the disabled list for the next seven weeks.

Wilson credited part of his immediate success out of the chute to his decision to play in more Minor League games than originally expected.

"I stayed out a little longer with the hopes that I'd be able to come right back and hit," said Wilson, who had never spent time on the DL before this season. "It's nice to get some hits and get on base, but more wins would be [better]."

After anticipating needing a weeks' worth of games before rejoining the big league club, Wilson ultimately opted to forgo coming back in the Pirates' home series last weekend in order to extend his rehabilitation work to 11 games. It wasn't until those last two games with Double-A Altoona, which followed a session with Pirates hitting coach Don Long, that Wilson finally felt comfortable.

Despite the immediate success, however, Wilson said this current period still feels like "Spring Training mode" in some regards.

"The timing's a little bit off on certain things," he said. "I'll swing at a pitch and miss a fastball that I thought I should have hit. You're still going through the mode where you don't always see things great. I'm kind of tweaking it and making adjustments on the fly."

As for Wilson's left calf, it had given the shortstop no problems until midway through Thursday's game. Wilson was pulled after six innings as a precautionary measure.

Wilson was, however, back in the lineup on Friday, and he described Thursday's tightness as nothing out of the ordinary.

"It's going to be one of those things that pops up here or there," Wilson said. "I think having an injury like that and having the rehab process be so long, it's just not going to go away over night."

Though he may be playing with some stiffness for a while, Wilson is not expected to have to miss any more games because of it.

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

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