Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson said he has been playing long toss since just before Christmas and expects to be completely recovered from October surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.
“I have normal extension again,” Wilson said Tuesday at Occidental College, where he was appearing with Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price and Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez at an MLB 2K13 video game commercial shoot.
“Before, I could only bend it, stretch it up to around 30%.”
Wilson, after signing a five-year, $77.5-million deal with the Angels in December 2011, had a 2.43 ERA in the first half of the season and made the All-Star team.
But he said he “started losing motion in July,” and finished the second half with a 5.54 ERA and didn’t win in 11 starts from July 1 to August 23 as the team missed the playoffs.
“The bottom line is you’re paid a lot of money to do a job, and you want to go pitch,” Wilson said of gutting his way through the discomfort last season. “I knew I needed surgery, because I had gone through the same thing in 2008.”
Pitching coach Mike Butcher “was trying to make adjustments for me. You don’t feel good. You try to fight through it and talk to the trainers, then the doctor, then the coaches. When you’re in a playoff race, all you can do is come in and give everything you can.”
Wilson wouldn’t estimate at what percentage of effectiveness he was operating at from July on but said, “the numbers tell the story. In the last three years, I’ve thrown something like 630 innings. It takes a toll on a body.”
Now, Wilson says he’s “0% concerned” about the prospects for this season, especially being surrounded by the new addition of former Texas Rangers star teammate Josh Hamilton and pitchers Jason Vargas, Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton.
Pitchers and catchers report to Angels’ spring training headquarters in Tempe, Ariz., by the second week of February.
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