Brian Wilson retires side in inning of work in Rancho Cucamonga
Brian Wilson needed only eight pitches to retire the side in order Wednesday in his rehabilitation start for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
Wilson, the colorful, bearded closer who finished the San Francisco Giants’ 2010 World Series championship and signed late last month with the Dodgers, made his rehab debut pitching the first inning for the Class-A affiliate.
Wilson, who said “it was nice” to experience the adrenaline of competition, retired Travis Jankowski on a grounder to second base, then rallied from a 3-1 hole to strike out Kyle Gaedele swinging, and Jace Peterson grounded to second to end the inning.
“Just get your feet wet, another bump up from simulated games, go out and throw competitive pitches,” said Wilson, whose fastball hit 91 mph. “Arm feels fine. That’s what we’re here to do,” gauge “the bounce-back factor, so we’ll see how we feel,” Thursday, “and go from there.”
Before the start, Wilson, 31, proclaimed himself recovered from reconstructive shoulder surgery after last pitching in the big leagues in April 2012. He said he was starting for the first time since a 2006 Arizona Fall League game.
He likened this minor league turn as a form of extended spring training, and speculated he could get up to “five, six, seven” more innings of work for triple-A Albuquerque before he and the Dodgers agree on his return to the majors – “it’ll be a symbiotic thing,” he said.
“I’m not worried about my role,” Wilson said when asked about his likely setup position in the bullpen. “Throwing a baseball is the same no matter when you’re doing it.”
Wilson said his prior connection to current Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti when they were in San Francisco -- along with the fact he lives and has rehabilitated at a training center in the Southland -- is why he selected the Dodgers over two other teams, landing a $1-million contract.
What about the hatred between his ex-team and new team?
“I don’t play into rivalries,” Wilson said before the game while sitting on his clubhouse stool, eating a lunchmeat sandwich on wheat bread. “Boo or cheer, it’s all good. Human emotion. You can do whatever you want. You pay for it.
“I was told business is business. It is. … I wasn’t mad or pouting,” about San Francisco’s lack of interest in retaining him. “I understood the position they were in. … This is a new chapter.”
Wilson said he’ll work on ensuring his arm speed and ability to throw strikes is sharp enough while in the minors, and that he wasn’t going to be “results-oriented” Wednesday night.
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