Wilkins Waiting, Wondering
Rick Wilkins, a healthy, power-hitting, left-handed catcher who has spent parts of nine seasons in the major leagues, sat around dumbfounded while the trading deadline passed and nobody had any interest in acquiring him from Albuquerque.
Some days, he even wonders why the Dodgers don’t give him a chance to help their problematic catching situation.
“I just want the opportunity,” Wilkins said. “I feel that I’ve done what I needed to do and I’ve earned a chance with someone.”
Wilkins is batting .272 with eight home runs and 29 runs batted in.
He signed a one-year contract in the off-season, but appeared in three games with four at-bats in Los Angeles before being sent to triple-A Albuquerque. on April 20.
It has been frustrating since then for Wilkins, watching the Dodgers struggle. Left-handed hitting catcher Todd Hundley hasn’t produced as the Dodgers had hoped, yet Wilkins hasn’t heard anything from the big-league squad.
“That’s a question for [Dodger General Manager] Kevin Malone,” Wilkins said. “I feel I’ve done some positive things and I’m ready to get back.”
Although Wilkins seems to be lost in the shuffle in the Dodger organization, he doesn’t feel as if his big-league career is close to being finished.
Wilkins played only 24 games last season with Seattle and the New York Mets after partially tearing the labrum in his shoulder. Fortunately he didn’t need surgery and was able to return this season, though he has spent most of it back in the minors. But Wilkins says he believes he’ll be back in the majors soon.
“Guys are playing until they’re 36, 37, 38,” said Wilkins, 32, who hit a career-high 30 home runs with the Cubs in 1993. “I still have quick hands and feet. I still have a quick bat. I think age is overrated in major league baseball.”
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