Pirates Team Notes

Pirates Team Notes

SS Jack Wilson is hopeful of playing in the exhibition opener against the New York Yankees on March 3 in Tampa, Fla., though team doctors would prefer he wait about 10 days before seeing game action.

Wilson had an emergency appendectomy Dec. 21 and lost 15 pounds. He has yet to regain all the weight, and the Pirates would prefer Wilson focus primarily on adding more strength.

Wilson was able to report with the pitchers and catches for spring training because he is coming off surgery. He was the Pirates' representative to the All-Star Game last season, when he hit .308 with 11 homers and 59 RBIs in 157 games.

LHP John Grabow signed a one-year contract that will pay him $327,000 if he is in the major leagues. Grabow, 26, went 2-5 with one save and a 5.11 ERA in 68 relief appearances last season as a rookie.

C Carlos Maldanado was the only player to miss the first workout of spring training. He was detained in his native Venezuela because of visa problems.

Maldanado is likely to begin the season at Double-A Altoona after being signed as a minor league free agent in the offseason. Maldanado hit .265 with 12 homers and 68 RBIs in 108 games for the Chicago White Sox's Double-A Birmingham farm club last season.

Nelson Briles, the team's VP of corporate projects and its 1971 World Series hero, died of a heart attack while playing in a Pirates alumni golf outing in Orlando, Fla. He was 61.

Briles is best remembered for pitching a two-hit shutout against Baltimore in Game 5 of the '71 Series at Three Rivers Stadium. The win gave the Pirates a 3-2 lead in the series, and they eventually won in seven games. Briles compiled a 129-112 record, 22 saves and a 3.43 ERA in 14 seasons with St. Louis (1965-70), Pittsburgh (1971-73), Kansas City (1974-75), Texas (1976-77) and Baltimore (1977-78).

Briles joined the Pirates' front office as director of corporate sales in 1986. He also was a television broadcaster for the club in 1979-80.

C J.R. House's season ended before it began. He was to have surgery on his torn right labrum and rotator cuff and hopes to be back by spring training next year.

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