In his first season with the Angels, C.J. Wilson made the All-Star team. As he prepares for what could be his fifth and final season with the Angels, he envisions himself pitching at an All-Star level once again.
Wilson’s 2015 season ended in July, after which he underwent surgery to remove bone chips and spurs from his pitching elbow. He went 8-8 with a 3.89 earned-run average in 132 innings, the fewest he has thrown since becoming a starting pitcher in 2010.
“I feel confident that I’m going to be back to the level that I think I should be at, which is an All-Star caliber player,” Wilson said Thursday. “It’s embarrassing to throw however many innings I threw last year and only win a couple games.”
Wilson said his rehabilitation has progressed smoothly and said he expects to start a throwing program in about two weeks, as he would in any other spring. He underwent a similar procedure after the 2012 season and rebounded with his finest season for the Angels, going 17-7 with a 3.39 ERA.
“I’m fully confident -- just like I have been before coming back from this type of surgery – that I’ll be fine,” he said after a meeting of the executive board of the Major League Baseball Players Assn.
Wilson, 35, will make $20 million this season and will be eligible for free agency after the season. The Angels have depth in starting pitching but holes at second base, third base and left field, leaving Wilson and fellow starters Hector Santiago, Matt Shoemaker and Tyler Skaggs as trade candidates.
“If one of us gets traded because they need to bring in somebody they didn’t sign, that’s the way the cookie crumbles,” Wilson said.
Wilson can veto trades to eight teams, and the Angels likely would have to absorb some of his contract in order to move him. He said he is thrilled that the Angels brought back former pitching coach Bud Black to work in the front office and excited to work with new pitching coach Charles Nagy. Wilson said he and Nagy spoke for an hour at Angel Stadium two weeks ago.
“I really love playing in Southern California. I’m from there,” Wilson said. “The only downside is that I don’t get as many at-bats as I want to get.”
Wilson batted .333 last season, with two singles in six at-bats.