C.J. Wilson’s shaky 22/3-inning, three-run, four-hit, three-walk start in Wednesday night’s 6-2 loss to the Texas Rangers earned the left-hander another invitation to the manager’s office for a lengthy closed-door meeting Thursday, his second such sit-down in two months.
But it did not result in a demotion from the rotation despite the strong effort of Jerome Williams, who replaced Wilson in the third inning and gave up one hit, struck out four and walked none in 41/3 innings.
Wilson, who had a similar meeting Aug. 3 in Chicago when he was in the midst of an 11-start winless slump, probably will pitch next week against Seattle. Wilson, who signed a five-year, $77.5-million deal with the Angels in December, is 12-10 with a 3.82 earned-run average.
“When he’s pitching great baseball, part of his talent is he can do so much with the baseball,” Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. “We want him to get comfortable with some things and get back out there. I can’t overstate how much we need our starters to do what they’re capable of.”
In August, Scioscia and pitching coach Mike Butcher wanted Wilson to simplify his vast repertoire, be more aggressive early in counts and “go in with the strategy of getting a hitter out in three pitches or less,” Butcher said. That would improve Wilson’s pitch efficiency and help him go deeper into games.
Thursday’s session, Scioscia said, was “just a strategy meeting to help him get his best stuff back out there on the field. We have a lot of confidence in what he can do. We want him to refine some simple things, without going into details.”
With Mark Trumbo mired in a lengthy slump in which he hit .171 (27 for 158) with 67 strikeouts in 40 games entering Thursday, and Vernon Wells hitting .231 with sporadic contributions, speedy defensive whiz Peter Bourjos would seem an attractive option to plug into the outfield.
But Bourjos, who hasn’t had an official at-bat since Aug. 7 and was on the disabled list for three weeks of August and early September because of a sore right wrist, has been suffering from “intestinal problems,” according to Scioscia.
Bourjos pinch-ran for Trumbo in the sixth inning Thursday and scored a run.
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, who missed Wednesday’s game because of intestinal issues, was not in the original lineup Thursday night. But after taking batting practice, he was inserted as the designated hitter batting fourth. Outfielder Josh Hamilton sat out his second straight game because of vision problems.