SS Wilson credits luck with strong start

| Monday, April 13, 2009

CINCINNATI — Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson won't take much credit for his strong performance to open to the season.

When asked what has helped him to a 7 for 22 (.318) start, Wilson quickly answered.

"Luck," he said. "I'm just trying to put the ball in play. Seeing the ball and trying to hit it."

Pirates manager John Russell, though, has other ideas as to why Wilson has been so productive through six games.

"I think the biggest thing is he feels good and he had a real sense of wanting to get going this year and he didn't this time last year," Russell said.

"I think the enthusiasm he had coming into camp to start with, and the way he felt about his body and the way he felt about how he's reacting."

Wilson's numbers — 8 for 47 (.170) in spring training — hinted he might have a hard time getting going when the season started. Wilson was never concerned with his spring ball stats, though, because he knew what was going on behind the scenes.

Wilson worked with hitting coach Don Long to lower the placement of his hands, which have been set above his shoulders for as long as he's played baseball. Breaking the habit and lowering his hands would help Wilson out in terms of timing, but the adjustment is still a work in progress.

"The last 10 at-bats, they've been in 10 different spots," Wilson said. "Nothing really feels comfortable then. It will be like that until we find something that really feels good. We're fortunate at this point getting some key hits for the team, just going up there and letting them fall where they may."

One of Wilson's hitting stats that really sticks out is his average with runners in scoring position. Wilson is 4 for 7 in those situations, with his most notable at-bat being a two-out, game-winning, three-run double that lifted the Pirates to a 6-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals last week.

"I don't really care about the start," Wilson said. "For me, the RBI hits have been a big lift for the team. That's a big thing for me. I never really concentrated on RBI. I've been able to help the team out. The guys in front of me are setting the table and just getting the confidence that we can score some runs."

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