TEMPE, Ariz.— It’s only the first start of spring training for C.J. Wilson, who will face the Milwaukee Brewers in Maryvale Park on Saturday, but the Angels are eager to see how the left-hander looks after he underwent surgery to remove bone spurs in his elbow last October.
“He’s feeling like he has full range of motion,” Manager Mike Scioscia said of Wilson. “He’s been able to execute every pitch that he has in his tool bag in his bullpen sessions.”
Wilson, the former Texas Rangers left-hander who signed a five-year, $77.5-million deal before 2012, was an All-Star last season, going 9-5 with a 2.43 earned run average, striking out 88 and walking 49 in 111 1/3 innings in the first half.
But the elbow began flaring up in July, and though he pitched through the discomfort, Wilson was not very effective, going 4-5 with a 5.54 ERA, 85 strikeouts and 42 walks in 91 innings in the second half.
Wilson went 11 starts from July 1 to Aug. 23 without winning a game. Included in that stretch was an Aug. 18 meltdown in which he failed to hold an 8-0 lead to the Tampa Bay Rays, who scored seven times in the fifth inning off Wilson and went on to win, 10-8.
“I think the elbow definitely affected him,” Scioscia said. “We knew there were some things he was having a little more difficulty doing in the second half than he did in the first half.
“Now, with the surgery ... I think we’ll see much more of that first-half guy from C.J. than the guy who was a little erratic in the second half. His command will be better, and I think he’ll definitely be able to put hitters away better.”